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South Wilkes-Barre resident recalls clean-up post-Agnes

Fifty years ago, Hurricane Agnes' flooding swept residences "right off the foundation."

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — Fifty years later, south Wilkes-Barre native Joan Strub walked her daughter, WNEP Reporter Chelsea Strub, through the aftermath of the catastrophe.

"We had this dead carp laying in our backyard. It had to be four feet long," Strub said. "Dead fish, laying in the backyard, on our back porch. I mean, like, it was crazy."

Hurricane Agnes struck when Strub was 14 years old. Her family had several properties in south Wilkes-Barre at the time.

"It was like 11 over 11 feet of water in our house. I could see where the flood line is there. All the floors downstairs and upstairs had to be all replaced," Strub said.

She said she felt like it was never going to stop raining.

"The smell and the mud, it really was. It was unbelievable. I don't think unless you live through it or saw it that you would ever know what it was like," Strub said.

The aftermath following the flood sticks with her the most. 

"When somebody says Charles Street, I get goosebumps because I walked on Charles Street every day to school. And when we went down to look at it, how Charles Street made out, it was all the talk. The houses were right off the foundations. They were crumbled to the ground," Strub recalled.

She said living through the flood taught her about gratitude and what it means to be a good neighbor.

"Everybody pitched in. Everybody took people in. There was a family from Kingston that was staying with our neighbors. And every day, they would come with a truckload of belongings, see what had to be thrown out, if they could salvage anything. And I remember helping her, the girl's name was Amy, and I remember helping her with her record collection, trying to wash the mud out and seeing if they would be good enough to use again."

Stories like that really put things in perspective.

RELATED: Levee system built after destruction from Agnes to protect Wyoming Valley

See more stories about the Agnes Flood on the WNEP YouTube channel.


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