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Meet Connie, Diane, and Ione
Written by Larry Roeder, Editor

            With the remnants of Hurricane Florence visiting use earlier in the week, many folks wanted to know if our area as ever experienced the impact that people on

First Came Connie ...

the coast (and beyond) of the Carolinas experienced from Florence.

            We have been spared the devastation experienced by our southern neighbors, mainly thanks to our cooler temperatures helping to direct the path and diffuse the violence of many storms once they get this far north.

            But, there was the summer of 1955 when Connie, Diane, and Ione came to visit us – all three, in less than a month.  They brought with them plenty of rain and caused a great deal of flooding in our region.

            All three were downgraded to tropical depressions by the time they got here.

            First to strike was Connie.  From August 12 through 14 she dumped more than

Then Diane ...

10-inches of rain around.  Making landfall in North Carolina as a category 3 hurricane, Connie made her way northwest, passing over central Pennsylvania.

            To that point, the summer was an unusually dry one.  Drought conditions existed.  An item in the Town and Country reported that construction workers working on Philadelphia Suburban Water Company's Green Lane Dam could barely get enough water out of the Perkiomen Creek to mix their concrete.

            July may have been unduly dry, but catching up in one storm wasn't the way to bring an end to the drought.

            The Perkiomen, along with most other creeks, were turned into raging torrents reaching levels since the flood of 1935.  Otto Quinque, Superintendent of Upper Perkiomen Park, was forced to ban swimming in the muddy waters of the Deep Creek

... and finally Ione.

Lake, which went from nearly dry, to two feet over normal during that span.

            In Milford Township, five homes were destroyed and many others damaged along the Unami Creek near Finland. Several feet of water flooded the buildings.

            In Schwenksville, boats from the State and Norristown Police units rescued people trapped by the flood by the waters of the Perkiomen Creek.

            The rain brought relief to area farmers who now had reason to hope that their fall harvests were saved.

            Then came Diane, making landfall in South Carolina as a category 1 hurricane.  The storm travel northwest then made a beeline to the northeast, right over our heads.

            The bush with the storm brought another 2 – 3 inches of rain to our area.  According to an account in the Town and Country, some municipalities escaped much of the damage.  However, the Perkiomen Creek was not kind to the folks from Perkiomenville to Collegeville.

            In Perkiomenville, the creek rose 9 feet above normal,   Residents reported the creek went from about 30-feet to a half-mile wide in a matter of minutes closing many roads – including Route 29.

            For the first time in seven years Spring Mountain Road, between Delphi and Spring Mountain, was closed due to the raging Perkiomen.

            In Palm, the lower floor of the Boss Manufacturing Company (formerly the Acorn Glove Factory was inundated by the waters of the Perkiomen Creek.

            Downstream, a foot-suspension bridge crossing the creek at the Perkiomen Legion Post was washed away and water reached a depth of four-feet in the former grist mill.

            On Foregedale road in Barto, a family that was marooned for hours by the rising waters of the West Branch of the Perkiomen Creek and needed to be rescued by volunteers from the Goodwill Fire Company of Bally.

            The Perkiomen Creek finally crested late at night, 14-feet above normal.

            The four-weeks of rain was topped off by Ione, who made landfall as a category 3 Hurricane in the Northeast corner of North Carolina and quickly veered northeast into the Atlantic Ocean, giving just a glancing blow of … more rain.

            The region was already devastated by the rains of Connie and Diane and thankfully, Ione's rainfall to our area was minor.

            Together, more than 250 deaths, nearly $1 billion damage were attributed to the trio of storms that paid us a visit in 1955.





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