Tom Huganir removed the pontoon boat from his garage overnight Wednesday, worried that rising floodwaters would lift it into the ceiling.

After dawn Thursday, Ed Rainsford kayaked to his home to find seven feet of the Schuylkill sloshing in his garage.

And Thursday afternoon, with her home still surrounded by an impromptu moat, Lynn Watters hopped onto a homemade zip line and slid to her elevated porch.

Such was life on West Indian Lane, a tiny street bordering the Schuylkill in West Norriton, Montgomery County - one of the most flood-prone communities in the region.

For decades, West Norriton has racked up millions in damages from floods, and Thursday's surge left West Indian Lane and two nearby apartment complexes engulfed in murky, dung-colored water.

Still, most residents said they love their way of life - floods and all.

"You've got to be a little bit crazy to live here," said a chuckling Jill Kinney, a 31-year resident of West Indian Lane. "And we all are."

Nearly everyone agreed that this flood was exceptional.

After almost a half-foot of rain fell in parts of the region starting Wednesday, the Schuylkill crested at 21 feet in Pottstown and Norristown overnight - 10 feet higher than normal.

The river surged over the banks in West Norriton on Wednesday night, and serious flooding also occurred in other county locations - Springfield, Whitemarsh, Bridgeport, Conshohocken.

No injuries were reported as of Thursday afternoon, said county spokesman Frank Custer.

County Commissioner Josh Shapiro said emergency crews had performed more than 20 water rescues and responded to more than 100 stranded vehicles earlier in the day.

Jefferson Fire Company No. 1 Chief John Bergstrasser, who was at the flooded apartment complexes, called the flood "one of the worst ones I've seen out here."

That is quite an observation for West Norriton.

More than 85 percent of the $8.8 million in flood losses paid out by the National Flood Insurance Program in the town have gone to "repetitive loss" properties, those with two or more claims.

The 72 homes in the Indian Lane neighborhood along the Schuylkill have flooded frequently. Most were built before government flood mapping began in the mid-1970s. Nationwide, such properties have been a drain on the program, which is $24 billion in debt to the U.S. Treasury.

"This is what happens in a county like ours, that has as many bridges and as many waterways as we enjoy," said County Commissioner Bruce L. Castor Jr.

Even so, he said, "I don't recall the Schuylkill flooding to this extent in my almost 30 years here at the county."

Sean Sanderson, 32, who lives on the second floor of the Riverview Landing apartments with his wife and their two young sons, watched TV news about the storm until around 2 a.m., when the power went out.

He knew a lot of water was coming when he saw other residents making a "mad dash" to move their cars out of the rapidly flooding parking lot Wednesday night, he said.

By morning, the parking lot was a pool of muddy water. Some residents who wanted to leave had to be moved by crews in marine rescue boats.

"I was thinking I was just going to wake up and go to my car," said Sanderson. "Then I woke up and saw the boats. ... It was like a movie."

By Thursday afternoon, as the water slowly receded, boat rescues in the apartment complex had slowed.

And on West Indian Lane, many residents began to focus on the cleanup, though pools of floodwater were still prevalent.

Jeff White, 56, who has lived on the block for nearly three decades, summed up the prevailing attitude.

While hosing mud off a dry patch of pavement, he said, "It's just part of living here. That's all."

cpalmer@phillynews.com

609-217-8305

@cs_palmer

Contributing to this article were Inquirer staff writers Allison Steele, Anthony R. Wood, and Jessica Parks.