Flash Flood in USA on September 01 2018 04:13 AM (UTC).
Heavy rains Friday morning and early afternoon have left portions of Lebanon and Berks counties under water. Per the National Weather Service, as of 12:58 p.m. Doppler radar estimated that more than 2 inches of rain had fallen in northwestern Berks County since this morning. An additional 1 to 3 inches was forecast this afternoon, leading to flash flooding. Some locations that could experience flooding today include Hamburg, Womelsdorf, Shoemakersville, Bernville, Strausstown and Centerport. In addition, flash flood warning was in effect through 5:45 p.m. An urban and small stream flood advisory was issued earlier for parts of western New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania, as far west as Berks County. Water rushed onto the rail bed as Ken Myers and a train full of riders sat still on railroad tracks in Mount Joy. The train offered service from Pittsburgh to New York, but Myers, who lives in Ephrata, got on in Harrisburg as a part of his regular commute home. For the first time in 10 years of his commute, Myer's 30 minute ride was severely delayed due to heavy flooding that hit Lancaster County on Friday. Amtrak's train status service shows there was a five hour and 49 minute delay for Myer's train, Amtrak #42. Officials confirm there were 274 customers on board. Myers said his train left around 1:05 p.m., but by 1:30 p.m. they had stopped just beyond the Mt. Joy station because of the flooding. "We could see the water levels rising on both sides of the train," Myers said. It rushed down the sides of the rail bed and the tracks submerged below them. Myers added, they were told the engine took on some water which shorted out some traction electricity. Amtrak communicated constantly with the passengers, Myers said, so he knew they sent out a "rescue engine" from Philadelphia because mudslides in Middletown prevented them from going back to Harrisburg. However, even their rescue had to wait until the flooding receded and "substantial" debris was cleared from the tracks, Myers said. People grew concerned once the flooding got closer to the track, Myer said, but Amtrak's efforts to give updates over the public announcement system and in person as staff walked through the cabins, helped. "The presence of Amtrak Police officers was a helpful sight, too, for those who were worried," Myers said. To his knowledge, there were no fights, arguments or other non-weather related chaos during the delay. "They were on top of things as much as they could be and they made a solid effort to keep everyone informed and calm through all the unknowns of the situation," Myers said. Amtrak offered a complimentary snack package and water during the delay, Myers said. He was also in the car with a cafe, which always had a long line while they waited. Myers said at first, he knew the water was high on the train but didn't realize how bad it was until he saw photos on social media taken from the bridge above them. Myers called the experience "unique" and definitely his most interesting communte in 10 years. "I've been in flight delays, but not in the middle of rising flood waters on either side of me," Myers said. Reporters in Mount Joy saw significant water around the train at 6:30 p.m. Amtrak officials confirmed Train 42 was unable to continue on to New York due to conditions, so everyone got off at the Lancaster station when it arrived around 8:30 p.m., along with Myers. Customers were offered substitute transportation on charter buses from Lancaster, Pa. to Harrisburg, Pa., Amtrak said in a service alert. Customers will be permitted to return to New York at Lancaster if they choose to do so.