Businesses near Conestoga River preparing for severe weather season

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Any threat of severe weather always raises concerns for business owners near the Conestoga River in Lancaster County.

They’ve been flooded in the past and are hoping to avoid a repeat.

The Conestoga Restaurant’s outdoor patio right by the river is a big draw in the summertime, but its position on the Conestoga also makes it prone to flooding in heavy rains.

Tropical Storm Lee devastated the restaurant in 2011, shutting it down for 13 months.

“It was a nightmare, it was like two to two-and-a-half feet of water in the dining room,” said Tony Mountis, owner of The Conestoga Restaurant.

When the forecast calls for a major storm, Mountis said the restaurant moves all of its outdoor furniture and has sump-pumps installed in the basement. He has tried sandbags in the past, but has found nothing will stop a surge of water from going where it wants to go.

“Like I say, you cannot fight with the man above,” he said. “So for whatever reason, you’ve got to take it day-by-day.”

Across the river at Personal Touch Detailing on Pitney Road, owner Angel Rodriguez has also had to come up with an approach to deal with flooding.

“Right up to this doorway, right up here, the last time the flooding came in, it was about this high,” Rodriguez said. “It was actually about seven feet of water in here.”

One precaution Rodriguez has taken in his shop is that everything inside can be easily moved in and out if there’s the threat of flooding.

“That is always a concern of being back here. But it’s a risk that you take, and that’s what you get insurance for,” he said.

In the past 24 hours, Lancaster has gotten nearly an inch of rain, not nearly enough to cause any issues for these business owners.

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