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York County residents passed through fire and water, or water and fire, in 1822

Dover (Pa.) Township property owners moved their sheep from a pen near the Conewago Creek amid fears of the creek flooding, leaving only this barred rock hen, a rooster and a few other birds in the yard. These remnants of Tropical Storm Cindy in 2005 interrupted York County’s dry spell by dumping 2.1 inches of rain on York County. In contrast, not far from this scene, in the drought of 1822, farmers raised turnips on the bed of the Conewago. Also of interest: York County’s ‘uncommon,’ deadly snowfall of 1772: ‘The poor animals struck through’ and For years, York countians have eyed amazing, destructive Susquehanna River ice jams and Tropical Storm Agnes savaged York County with more than 15 inches of rain.

Another in a short series of meteorological events, tied to this winter’s big snows… .

No weather events had stumped York County more than the water and fire of 1822.
Simply, nature did an about face in the course of six months, as the following excerpt from “Never to be Forgotten,” indicates:

Mother Nature makes county residents pass through fire and water. Actually, it’s water and then fire.
First comes the February snow. About 15 to 20 inches falls. Then comes a heavy rain, which melts the snow, causing some to think of the Codorus Creek as the Codorus River.
The only good thing about the flooding is that it claims no lives, tame compared to the flood of 1817.
The rain clouds spent themselves during that period because no rain of any consequence falls until September. The drought causes crop failure, and farmers with grain in their bins travel 20 miles to find a mill with enough water power to grind it.
One historian (John Gibson) later reported that the drought was so bad northwest of Dover that “not a drop of water (was) to be seen in the channel of the Big Conewago, at the place where the bridge is thrown across it on the Carlisle Road.”

In August, showers fell in parts of York County, but otherwise no rain was recorded until sometime in September. Most summer crops failed throughout the county, according to historian John Gibson.
This challenging year of 1822 serves as a reminder that unpredictable, painful weather patterns have afflicted York County – and the nation – since its earliest years.
Posts on meteorological phenomena:
Ice upon ice pic tells chilly tale of York County’s 1996 blizzard.
Tropical Storm Agnes savaged York County with more than 15 inches of rain.
A list of traumatic, painful incidents that rocked York County.
Photo courtesy of York Daily Record/Sunday News.