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Local businesses hit twice with relentless flooding

Seth Murphy of Wunderbar walks through a flooded Mercer Street in Harmony on April 3. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle

Just eight days after businesses across Butler County picked up the pieces from a torrential downpour that caused flooding damage and road closures, Mother Nature came back with a second storm that may have been even worse.

According to Steve Bicehouse, Butler County’s director of emergency operations, Connoquenessing Creek in the southern part of the county reached as high as 14.7 feet — high enough to cause a flood.

Businesses along Mercer Road in Harmony received the brunt of the flooding’s wrath. This included Union Brothers Brewing and Wunderbar Coffee & Crepes, both of which were forced to close their doors Friday for the second time in a week.

Mercer Road, along with a large chunk of Harmony, is located adjacent to the Connoquenessing Creek.

“The situation is very similar to what we had experienced last week,” said Union Brothers general manager Josh Mitchell. “We are less than a foot higher than it was last week, but I’m sure that even as the rain slows, the water will continue to rise.”

“We’re a small, family-owned business,” wrote the owners of Wunderbar Coffee & Crepes on their Facebook page. “Losing any days really hurts.”

Indian Brave Campground in Jackson Township struggled to clean up the damage from the previous floods, only to be deluged once again Thursday and Friday. According to campground owner Laura Ebbert Manuel, the damage was worse this time.

“The campground is completely flooded — about six inches to a foot higher than it was last week,” Ebbert Manuel said. “The arcade and laundromat didn’t get flooded the first time, but they are flooded now.”

No one was injured in this week’s flooding at the campground, but seven campers were flooded out of their spots and their residents forced to move into a nearby hotel. According to Ebbert Manuel, most of the residents were staying there while working on Jackson Township’s water tower.

“We have 55 spots we keep open year-round for those full-time traveling workers,” she said. “And then the rest of the campground was scheduled to open on Monday.”

That date for the campground’s spring season opening has been pushed back to allow Ebbert Manuel and her crew to repair the damage.

“We have to tear apart all the electrical components,” she said. “Everything needs to be cleaned and put back together.”

Mitchell said the reopening date for Union Brothers Brewing — which is normally open on weekends and closed Monday and Tuesday — is dependent upon whether the nearby creek cooperates.

“Once our parking lot is free of standing water, we will again be open to the public,” Marshall said.

The coming week promises much more wet weather for Butler County, with rain predicted for Sunday as well as Tuesday through Thursday.

The site of flooding at Connoquenessing Creek is seen from above near the entrance of the Zelieople-Harmony Sportsman Club at the corner of Pine and Front streets just before noon Friday. Ryan Wharton/Special to the Eagle
Flooding at Indian Brave Campground caused the water level to reach almost 7 feet, according to owner Laura Ebbert Manual. Submitted Photo

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