Family chased by 'a tidal wave' has new home, away from water
Three months after the Flood of 2011, Andrew and Sandra Moore purchased a new home.
"We don't live by any water," Sandra stresses.
One can't blame her for making that point.
The Moores, whose new home is near the village of Seven Points in Rockefeller Township, were living in a one-story ranch along Route 147 near the normally slow-flowing Fiddler's Run, two
miles south of Herndon, when Tropical Storm Lee brought its destruction to east-central Pennsylvania last year.
The Moores were spared any damage on what were the worst days for others, Sept. 7 and 8. While the Susquehanna River was raging downstream just a mile or so from their home, they were safe.
Or so they thought.
A cell of thunderstorms stalled over the Mandata area in southwestern Northumberland County and would dump by one rain gauge measurement some 5 inches of rain on the area in about 90 minutes. It swelled smaller tributaries and dumped them into a raging Fiddler's Run, taking it to heights locals had never seen before, and resulted in what the Moores and emergency personnel would describe as a "tidal wave" rushing north on Route 147.
The Moores were chased from their home as the destructive water pushed vehicles out the back wall of their garage, filled their basement and kept rising. They waded through chest-high water up onto the highway, where they hung onto the guardrail to avoid being washed away. They would wait for some two or three hours before emergency personnel could reach them.
A year later, as the Moores continue to negotiate with FEMA over the buyout of their one-acre property, Sandra Moore gets upset at the thought of her former home, which sits pretty much as it did the day after the flood destroyed it.
"Every time I go down there it's ... ugh," she said.
"We don't go down there unless we have to," her husband said. "I don't even want to look at that place anymore."
Some flood coverage
The Moores' homeowners insurance didn't cover the damage, and they only had minimal flood insurance, enough to cover the lesser Zone C flood plain requirements as part of their mortgage. They estimate the insurance paid them a little less than half of the value of their former property.
Andrew Moore said the property has since been designated a Zone A flood plain, so to rebuild there would involve an "unbelievable" amount of costly engineering.
He said he's not sure what the holdup is with FEMA, but once that federal buyout occurs, the land will be turned over to Jackson Township and nothing can be built there again.
The Moores and their two adult sons, Andrew Jr. and Christopher, have "pretty well adjusted" a year later, Andrew Moore said, but it wasn't easy.
They lived with Andrew's mother, Nancy Moore, in West Cameron Township until they moved into their new home in December.
Also, Andrew lost his work van and some $10,000 in tools that he used as a subcontractor in solar and satellite TV installation work, keeping him out of work for nine months, and it took a couple weeks for his wife to get her home-based medical transcriptionist business back online.
The Moores investigated rumors that a dam at Meckley's Limestone Products a few miles south of their home burst that night, contributing to the flooding. It turned out not to be true, they said, and chalk it up to just a terrible circumstance produced by Mother Nature.
Sandra Moore says it's such a simple consideration now to have had more flood insurance before Sept. 9, 2011. But, she adds, "who thinks a tidal wave is going to destroy their house?"