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Creek neighborhood that floods too lovely to leave

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The first thing you learn when you settle into John Simonds' neighborhood in Middletown is your flood stage number.

“Mine’s 20, but it gets smaller the more you go down the street, since they’re lower,” he said, as he calmly watched cold, muddy floodwater recede from his property on Periwinkle Avenue.

Simonds has lived here with his wife, Jane, since 1964, two streets from the Neshaminy Creek, a placid run that turns into a raging torrent in heavy rain.

That happened this week, when tropical rains dropped on Bucks County, sending the Neshaminy over its banks, cresting at 20.8 feet just after daylight on Thursday.

“This was bad, but Floyd was worse,” said Simonds. “Floyd was 22. I had water in my house.”

The number is a measure in feet, and depending on where you live along the creek here, it’s one you need to know. Whenever the Neshaminy threatens to jump its banks, residents here get automated warning phone calls from the county, estimating the crest — that is, where it will reach farthest before retreating to the creek banks.

Gary Morin, who lives across the street from the Simonds, said his number is 18.

“At first, they told us it was 15, and when I heard that I thought, well, it ain’t gonna hit my yard. But 18, 19, well it comes in my yard. Yeah, they said 15, but they can’t always be........

© The Intelligencer

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