Hershey Park, Knoebels closed Thursday as flooding prompts evacuations

Two of Pennsylvania's beloved amusement parks will remain closed on Thursday after five days of relentless downpours have left central Pennsylvania a soggy mess.

The rainfall has sent creeks and streams piling over their banks, forcing rescues and evacuations.

Hersheypark and Knoebels Amusement Park in Elysburg - both located along flooded streams - shut down Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. Neither park has announced whether or not they would be able to reopen before the weekend.

Rainfall of up to 7 to 11 inches drenched the region over the past five days, with more on the way before clearer weather is expected Thursday. July rainfall records were set in Williamsport and Harrisburg, most of it falling since Saturday morning.

Firefighters helped people escape their flooded neighborhood near Hershey on Wednesday morning, and search crews have not been able to find a woman swept away Monday night while crossing the rain-swollen Conewago Creek near Elizabethtown.

"We've experienced what we call an atmospheric river, which is where the pattern sets up and creates a fire hose, bringing moisture from the Atlantic," said John Banghoff, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in State College.

The Red Cross opened shelters in Hershey and in the Susquehanna River town of Marietta.

The state Transportation Department said 97 roads were closed by early Wednesday afternoon, but no major highways.

Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman Ruth Miller said there have been more than three dozen rescues in Schuylkill, Chester, Dauphin, Snyder and Northampton counties alone. She asked drivers to avoid going through floodwaters.

For more information on the amusement park closures, visit their websites: Hershey Park | Knoebels