But, 75 years ago, Mother Nature turned water into a malicious mad dog.
In Williamsport, it ripped away buildings, destroyed bridges and sent people scrambling to the second floors of their homes.
With no electricity, no telephone service and washed-out roads, many communities in the Tri-state area became isolated islands.
When the rain ended after three days, what was left was life that follows weather — cleanup and resolve.
It was the 1936 St. Patrick's Day Flood, one of the region's worst natural disasters.
There have been other floods, other devastating events, but this is one of the most memorable, say the people who lived through it.
"When you're dealing with 49 1/2 feet of cresting water, it's something you tend not to forget," said Maurice Snyder, 97, of Williamsport.
It had been a cold winter, Snyder recalled, and a warm spell had moved into the area, offering a welcomed respite from the freezing temperatures.
According to newspaper accounts, there had been general rainfall throughout the Potomac River Basin during the first two weeks of March, and much of the rainfall, combined with thawing snow, found its way into streams and creeks.
Around March 15, a storm originating in Texas began moving toward the mid-Atlantic states and the Upper Ohio River Valley.
By March 17, it was raining heavily.
"Cumberland had a lot of snow on the ground," Snyder said. "And when it melted, it filled the Potomac River."
As the downpours continued, the river, as well as streams and creeks began to rage.
Along a 100-mile stretch from Cumberland to Point of Rocks, the flood waters rolled, leaving destruction in their wake.
Cumberland was battered by a 10- to 14-foot wall of water, and hundreds of people were left homeless.
At Hancock, water from the Potomac River filled the town, buildings were smashed to splinters and roads were impassable.
Several houses and a store building on the West Virginia side of the river at Hancock were swept from their bases and floated downstream.
And the flood was making its way to Williamsport.