Widespread flooding expected in Port Deposit from Hurricane Sandy

PORT DEPOSIT, Md. - They can't move their stuff to higher ground fast enough with Hurricane Sandy on the way, and longtime Port Deposit residents know all too well what will happen when the Susquehanna River spills over its banks.

"There was mud to the ceiling. In the laundry room, we had to replace all the washers and driers, but this one here is going to be a whole lot worse than that one was," said Dave Knox as he looked on while neighbors loaded a truck with furniture.

As if the gusting winds and driving rain aren't enough as Sandy pushes inland, it's the water that will filter down from the north in her aftermath that will ultimately force operators at the Conowingo Dam to throw open the gates flooding the small riverfront town in the process.

"Now when all those gates are open, you're talking about two or three million gallons a second coming through that dam," said Knox, "That's a lot of water, and water from my experience is the most destructive force in the world. You can't control it."

Just up the hill at the Water Witch Fire Department, swift water rescue crews from as far away as Vermont and Texas will help with the expected flooding.

"It would take two or so hours for a commercial jetliner to fly over it," said Port Deposit Mayor Wayne Tome who said the townspeople have prepared for high water, moving furniture and piling up sandbags. But now comes the tough part - waiting out the storm.

"In the immediate storm, since we're going to get a lot of the storm, we want people to stay inside.  Don't come out.  We stress that cause maybe what looks like a dead power line may be alive," said Tome.

There was only one gate open at the Conowingo Dam on Sunday, as operators allowed the Susquehanna to hit its low point, but they'll be throwing them open in a balancing act throughout the week to try to prevent as much flooding as possible.

Right now, the outlook is for flooding to begin filling the town's streets on Wednesday.

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