AVONDALE -- The White Clay Creek has for years borne the designation of “Wild and Scenic” through the efforts of local conservationists.
On Tuesday, however, it was decidedly more wild than scenic, as it showed its savage side, eating up stream banks and flooding roadways.
The driving rains that dumped almost 4 inches on southern Chester County increased the creek’s flow in cubic feet per second from a normal 146 to 9,880 at 5:30 a.m. on Thursday, a record for that day of the year.
The always-vulnerable Avondale Apartments that sit alongside the water in the borough were flooded on the first floor, and residents were evacuated to Avon Grove High School. By mid-morning on Thursday, the occupants were back and fans were churning away, attempting to dry the place out.
Public Works Director Cleve Price said that in addition to the apartment evacuation, he had to close several roads near the water, although Pennsylvania Avenue going through the middle of town remained open throughout the storm.
In West Grove the borough sewage treatment plant -- a stream-discharge system -- bore the brunt of the storm as the water rose to the floor of the system. The fence that surrounds the system was cluttered with vegetative waste from the storm about three feet from what is usually dry ground.
The stream bed was also affected. One worker at the plant said the White Clay is usually a “meandering creek,” but after the storm the banks had been scraped away, expanding the bed and giving the water a straight, fast shot through the route.
West Chester Public Works Director Tim Nichols said that in spite of the flooding, no one’s plumbing was affected.
Emergency Management Coordinator Chuck Freese said southern Chester County came through the Wednesday storm without serious physical injures to individuals. “Most of the folks paid attention to the warnings and didn’t get stranded,” he said.
Still, there were some road closings to deal with.
There were three in London Britain close to the Delaware state line that included mud slides.
There were also some in Upper Oxford. “That’s usually high ground, but the water went across the road in some places,” Freese said. Lake Road in London Grove, which he said is aptly named, also had to be closed in the storm.
“You learn something from every storm, so you can always be better prepared for the next one,” he said.