Corn and soybean fields around Hughesville were crushed flat in large patches Friday. The gas pumps at stations in Hughesville were bagged, with floodwater having diluted the fuel, leaving it useless. Many businesses in the eastern parts of Hughesville were closed Thursday and Friday, the owners and staff cleaning up and throwing out damaged stock.
Power washers were out in full force along Lycoming Creek Road Friday morning and afternoon as business owners and staff began assessing the damage caused by last week's flooding and getting rid of the mud and water that had ruined floors, walls and furniture.
"You can't put a dollar sign on the damage," Steve Davis, used car manager for Alexander Kia, said as he swept his arm around the mud-covered car lot. "We had a foot and a half of water in the showroom."
Employees clean up at a Shell gas station on Lycoming Creek Road. Many businesses along that road and in Hughesville and Picture Rocks spent Thursday, Friday and the weekend cleaning up after destructive flooding on Thursday.
Firefighters were power-washing the parking lot as staff removed damaged equipment from the garages. Davis said the parking lot was covered in 3 to 4 feet of water Thursday but the cars already had been moved.
"We moved them all Wednesday before the storm hit," he said, adding that he has moved the cars from the premises 15 times in the past 30 years due to flooding.
After cleaning the business interior, Davis said, staff would bring the vehicles back from the Lycoming Valley Middle School parking lot where they had been stored.
"We should be up and running by Monday. We're going to be working around the clock," he said.
Darrin Wascher, owner of Healthy Living Chiropractic, was loading up equipment and files Friday in preparation to gut the building. Workers already had cut out 4 feet of drywall.
"We had about 8 inches (of water) on the first floor," he said.
Fortunately, Wascher had time to get equipment and paperwork out of the way before the flooding began.
"We got everything up as high as we could, at least the paperwork and patient records," he said, adding that he had put his chiropractic chair up on a table.
Wascher said he plans to see patients at his house until the building is re-drywalled, re-carpeted and re-insulated.
The Budget Inn Motel was dealing with the loss of furniture, electronics, mattresses and groceries, all of which were stored in the basement at the time of the flood.
"Everything's washed out," Priti Patel, owner, said. "We cannot use anything."
The hotel rooms were safe from damage, but Patel said she was unsure how long it would take to clear out the water from the basement. In addition, the basement of Patel's home was flooded, where she had stored additional items for the motel.
Stephanie Williams had returned to Moonlight Graphics Studio Thursday evening to begin cleaning in hopes of getting back to work as soon as possible. Williams said the business's equipment and merchandise was safe from damage.
"We really just had to deal with cleaning up all the mud and water," she said. "Things had floated everywhere."
Williams maintained a positive attitude and said many customers had stopped to offer their help. Moonlight received about 7.5 inches of water, but the studio went back to printing orders at 10 a.m. Friday.
"We're trying to meet all our deadlines and not drop anybody," Williams said. "We have the most amazing workforce."
Along the streets of Picture Rocks residents could be seen carrying damaged furniture and other belongings out of homes Thursday night. In some places debris, pieces of washed-along fence, piled up. The veterans memorial in the borough south of Muncy Creek was destroyed, though some neighbor had taken the time to pile errant bricks up near the site lest they be displaced and lost. The Sun-Gazette's headline declared: Worse than Agnes.
According to a 2002 report in USA Today, The Agnes-related flooding in Pennsylvania in 1972 destroyed about 3,000 businesses, totaling up damage estimates of about $2.1 billion. Eighteen inches of rain fell in two days, with the Susquehanna River cresting at a record 32.3 feet in Danville and 35.8 feet in Sunbury, according to Accuweather.com. As of Thursday, the river was at 31.6 feet in Danville and 32.7 feet in Sunbury. While over the course of a day and a half, nearly 8 inches had fallen, the region already had seen an "extremely high" level of rainfall for the year, a meteorologist told the Sun-Gazette Thursday.
County Public Safety Director John Yingling, the Sun-Gazette reported Thursday, observed the flood levels for this deluge were higher than Agnes, and said damage estimates wouldn't be available until further assessments could be made.
While a specific financial figure of the extent of the flooding's damages cannot yet be known, a sense of the variety of ways in which the flooding will impact the region economically can. In the midst of back-to-school shopping and weeks ahead of holiday shopping, households will feel the impact of replacing and repairing the consequences of the rain and flooding in their wallets. Oil tanks for home heating, the upholstery in sedans and vans, furnishings, ruined.
In addition to merchandise and equipment irreparably damaged by rising waters, businesses lost hours of operation Thursday. Evacuations shuttered businesses in Glen Mawr and Picture Rocks. Commercial air travel came to a halt at Williamsport Regional Airport. The website of the Lycoming Mall announced the store would close early at 3 p.m. Thursday due to the weather. The bar and restaurant Hull's Landing announced it'd be closed Thursday on Facebook, citing extensive damage to its parking lot. The IRS office in Williamsport was closed, and Walmart posted signs Friday informing consumers the department store would be unable to cash paychecks.
Sun-Gazette business editor Mike Maneval contributed to this report.