The Easton Flood of 2004

If you are looking for photos of the 2005 flood, please read this entry — The Editor

The Delaware River flooded its banks after the remnants of Ivan — combined with another storm — dumped a huge amount of rain on the Lehigh Valley. Sue, Jordan and I walked down town to snap a few pictures of the scene, and we were astounded by what we saw.

As of Sunday, 9/19/2004, Larry Holmes Drive, which runs along the eastern edge of the city and abuts the park, was underwater (sorry, no photos of that — we were on the wrong side of Rte. 22, and the digital camera can’t shoot that far). Riverside Park is underwater and apparently the McDonald’s was as well.

Closer to home, the river flooded 3rd Street, putting a car wash and numerous homes underwater. Rte. 611 is similarly drowned.

On the other side of College Hill (where we live in Easton), the Delaware turned Eddyside Park into just an extension of itself, creating a few sink holes along Rte 611. Further upriver, the Delaware destroyed a home, which later floated downstream and apparently hit the Free Bridge.

On Saturday, things were worse (though the river hadn’t crested yet). College Hill — located on a hill north of Easton — was essentially turned into an island, with most of the major routes cut off by either water or fallen trees. Sullivan Trail remained open at times, but apparently had its own issues with water and trees.

Of course, what we got is nothing compared to what Florida and Alabama got, but its a big deal for this region. We haven’t seen flooding like this since 1996, and in some cases, 1955. It’s all the more mind-numbing because we weren’t expecting it — oh, we knew it was going to rain, and rain quite a lot, but no one expected that the Delaware and Lehigh Rivers (and their various tributaries) would flood like this.

On the plus side, there’s nothing like a natural disaster to bring people together in Easton. The weather was beautiful on Sunday, and a goodly number of people went down to the river to witness its expansive destruction. It was a friendly, festive environment, reminiscent of what you’d see during Heritage Day (a community day of sorts) or during the Arts Festival (which got flooded out this weekend).

All in all, we were lucky. Although trees came down all around College Hill, none fell near our house or cars, the power never went out for more than a few seconds, and our sump pump was able to keep up with the continuous stream of water flowing through our basement.

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