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    Jesse Ferrell

    Harrisburg, Columbia Flood Comparison Photos

    By Jesse Ferrell, Meteorologist/Community Director
    4/17/2012, 8:24:28 AM

    In early September 2011, I took a series of flood photos in Harrisburg and Columbia, Pa. The trick with getting your flood photos to look impressive (especially devoid of structures) is to compare them to the same place when it's dry. If you don't, it's hard for the public to see the seriousness of the situation, especially if they are unfamiliar with the area.


    So last weekend, I drove to some of the same places, with last year's photos on my cell phone, to attempt to take the same photo during dry conditions. It turns out, the river is near record low levels now (discharge shown above). At Harrisburg last September, we were seeing the fifth highest river level ever recorded, 25.17 ft. Now it's at 3.87 feet; the record low is 1.83 but 2.67 is in the top 5. A similar situation with near-record levels exists at Columbia (Marietta). Here's an example of the difference, in downtown Harrisburg at the I-83 exit:


    Getting the same photo to cover the same area was more difficult than I estimated, even eyeballing it on my cell phone. Different cameras and slightly-different locations led to slightly different photos, but I think most of the ones below are close enough that if you hover over them to see the "new / dry" photo, you can get an idea for how high the flooding was:


    I didn't even realize there was a path in the lower left (this is in downtown Harrisburg)!


    Looks like they added a shed recently to this setup on City Island (looking towards Harrisburg).


    The Rock Bass grill (on the other side of the river from Harrisburg) reopened even though they had water throughout the building during the flood.


    Now, you Can Enter (at a park in Columbia).


    This is from a scenic overlook in Columbia. Note the rocks in the river that you don't see in the flood photo. And now for a closeup... these people probably didn't think the water would ever get that high!


    This is (ironically) a water plant in Columbia. Note the kids & cars in this year's photo.


    The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com


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    Jesse Ferrell