It was 13 months ago that parts of Athens and Sayre were devastated by the flood waters from Tropical Storm Lee. As Sandy approached, days of preparation went into securing the area for a storm that fortunately didn't come as advertised. Bill Mich reports.
ATHENS, Pa. -- Last September, Main Street in Athens was impassable with flood waters. This time around, as Sandy approached, emergency officials were determined not to have history repeat itself.
"We looked at the Susquehanna River, where the jersey barrier walls at, we wanted to make sure that was backfilled as tight as it could be to make sure any type of water that would come up that high wouldn't move the barriers," said Scott Riley, the Athens Emergency Management Coordinator.
Along with securing those flood walls, crews had sand bags totaling well over 400,000 pounds, ready to be put into place to stop water from flowing into the streets. And residents were kept in the loop as well as Sandy got closer.
"We put together a flier that we could go and hand out to the public. We had a couple of public meetings through the process to go and update them. Biggest thing there was trying to dispel some of the rumors," said Riley.
Fortunately for the Valley, Sandy came and the damage was minimal. High winds knocked down a few limbs and caused some power outages, but nothing in comparison to the floods of last year. It was a lot of hard work for a storm that made very little impact, but preparing for the worst and hoping for the best was the plan from the beginning.
"The fire pager didn't go off, you didn't hear the sirens last night as far as the cleanup, where we basically spent an entire night through the morning at the municipal building. It's a real nice feeling to know that the preparation paid off if we need it and were ready to go. But best case scenario, we didn't have to use it," said Riley.
The east side of Sayre was also virtually underwater after Tropical Storm Lee last year but fortunately for residents there, the water level in the Susquehanna River stayed low enough through Sandy that not additional flooding occurred.