Editor's note: Sentinel Special Projects Editor Jane Cannon Mort compiled a timeline highlighting events that occurred in the Juniata Valley during the Flood of 1972, using previously published reports from past editions of The Sentinel.
Wednesday, June 21, 1972
9:05 p.m. -Mifflin County Civil Defense officials tour the low-lying areas of Mifflin County and find minor flooding, especially along the tributaries.
Sunday, June 25, 1972 —Civil Defense officials took photos from a helicopter showing the damage done by Kishacoquillas Creek, which inundated Rec Park. The photo shows waters that had receded considerably from the crest that came some 36 hours before the air tour.
Township officials are put on a potential flood alert.
PennDOT crews barricade the road between Shrader and Lockes Banks because the water is over the highway. That scenario is to be repeated again and again for the next few days.
Thursday, June 22, 1972
Midnight - Rains become heavier, and in a steady downpour.
The National Weather Service warns that a "major disaster" is developing in the wake of four days of torrential rainfall from a diehard storm called Agnes, which was stalled over the already-soaked state, causing the worst flooding since 1936.
8 a.m. - The Mifflin County Civil Defense is taken off alert status and put on activated status.
A "state of extreme emergency" is declared by Gov. Milton J. Shapp.
Roads are closing and people are moving belongings to higher ground.
Mid-morning: The Civil Defense issues a bulletin to persons living in all low lying areas of the county to prepare for a possible evacuation.
Between 7 a.m. and noon, the Juniata River rises 5.6 feet and 1.15 inches of rainfall is recorded by the American Viscose Division of the FMC Corp.
In Juniata County, a number of roads are closing, including Route 35 between McAlisterville and Mifflintown.
1:15 p.m. - The Juniata River begins to overflow its banks.
At first, motor vehicles are used in evacuation work, but later motorboats are used.
Early evening -Fire trucks and other emergency vehicles are being hampered in reaching distressed areas because of sight-seers.
6:45 p.m. -Kish Park is swamped.
7:30 p.m. -Lewistown Hospital goes on emergency alert.
8 p.m. -Lewistown and Burnham-Derry police departments issue a joint statement threatening prosecution of all persons who hamper the movement of evacuation crews.
8 p.m. -Brooklyn Fire Co. has to halt evacuation efforts to return to the station to move its own engine. Fifteen minutes later, the engine room is covered by floodwaters.
9 p.m. - Lights begin to flicker and power is out in some areas of Lewistown. It isn't long before many areas are without power for the entire night, while others experience only temporary disruption of electrical service.
11:15 p.m. -The order is given to evacuate all areas on the southwest side of South Main Street in Lewistown, from Kish Creek to the Green Gables Motor Inn.
Civil Defense Headquarters on Juniata Street, from which evacuation orders were given, is subjected to its own evacuation when the water comes over a 36-foot wall at the rear of the structure, threatening emergency supplies stored in the basement. Officials call in help to move the equipment.
Victory Park is completely inundated and the force of the water in Kishacoquillas Creek is strong enough to take out the Chestnut Street Bridge.
Just outside of town, water reaches nearly halfway up the side of the Goss Fertilizer building near Electric Avenue along Kish Creek.
One of the walls surrounding Standard Steel collapses during the night.
Water reaches the windows of Luba's Restaurant.
Kishacoquillas Park is completely covered; Busy Beaver is swamped; and the Logan Boulevard-Electric Avenue intersection is covered.
A large gas storage tank at the Esso plant on Walnut Street is dislodged, torn from its foundation and carried into a nearby house.
Area trucking firms volunteer equipment and drivers to pull mobile homes from low areas, but about half of them in the Montgomery Avenue court are covered with water, and some are carried away from their foundations into the middle of the nearby recreation park field.
A Freedom Avenue woman goes into labor. The National Guard take her in a 2.5-ton truck through the water to the Yeagertown Fire House. From there, she is taken to the hospital in the Fame ambulance.
It's impossible to get in or out of Mifflintown. State police are dispatched to a summer camp in Licking Creek where 50 youngsters from Altoona are on vacation. It is found best to let them camp rather than to attempt to get them out.
Friday, June 23, 1972
Midnight -Washington Avenue closes to all traffic at the Noerr Motor Freight building.
1 a.m. -The south side of Lewistown is a "virtual lake." The Lewistown sewer plant is under water and the by-pass road along the river near the plant is closed.
Persons trapped in the south side are instructed to report to the F.W. Black Hospital building, which had been ordered to open by Mifflin County Commissioner Chairman Charles E. McNitt.
Matching the rising waters of the river were its major tributaries, Kishacoquillas Creek and Jack's Creek.
4 a.m. -The steady climb of the rising waters (one foot per hour) slows signs of leveling off.
8 a.m. -The river is now only rising 8 inches per hour.
1 p.m. -The river stage is at 41 feet. It is expected to crest between 6 and 8 p.m.
A cave-in has also closed the Old Route 322 between Yeagertown and Reedsville.
Late afternoon - the continuous downpour slackens and only sporadic light rains fall throughout the night.
6 p.m. -The Juniata River crests at 42 feet 1 inch, short of the 1936 level of 43 feet 5 inches.
9 p.m. - The Juniata River starts to recede.
9:30 p.m. -A family of seven persons from Bedford County is rescued after the car in which they were traveling plunged into the backwaters of the Juniata River, which forced the closing of Route 22 at the western end of McVeytown.
Just before midnight - the Juniata River crests at a depth of more than 42 feet near the bridge between Mifflin and Mifflintown - some 20 feet above the flood stage.
Saturday, June 24, 1972
3:30 a.m. -The Juniata River level begins to decrease.
5:30 a.m. -The road between McVeytown and Brooklyn Mills is closed due to a cave-in.
9 a.m. - The Juniata River level, dropping at the rate of 5 inches per hour, hits the 38.1-foot mark.
10 a.m. -Many roads are officially closed to traffic.
To cope with reports of looting, Lewistown Borough initiates a curfew between the hours of 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.
Sunday, June 25, 1972
Afternoon -An aerial survey and photos of the county are made by the Army National Guard.
10 p.m. - Engineers fear that the dam at the Minehart Reservoir is in danger of bursting, so evacuation proceedings begin of residents living directly in the path of the reservoir., including the Malta Home in Granville. Authorities work through the night to drain the dam to a safe level.