Thousands Ordered To Leave As Rain Continues To Pound Northeast

Sep 8, 2011
Originally published on September 8, 2011 4:52 pm

"Get out now — the worst is yet to come."
That's the blunt message from the Press & Sun-Bulletin in Binghamton, N.Y. — where flood waters are rising fast as the rain-swollen Susquehanna Rivers and local creeks rise in what officials are warning could be flooding of "historical proportions."
People in towns and cities in eastern New York State, Pennsylvania and Maryland where the Susquehanna flows have been ordered to leave their homes and head for higher ground. The Associated Press says nearly 100,000 residents are in the affected areas.
It's feared the flooding will be the worst the region has seen since Tropical Storm Agnes in 1972.
Update at 5:10 pm. ET. Gov. Cuomo Warns Residents:
"Don't look out the door and say, 'it's not that high,' " New York Gov. Mario Cuomo (D) said this afternoon, according to the Press & Sun-Bulletin. "It's going to get much worse. By the time it gets that bad, you won't be able to leave."
Update at 3:29 p.m. ET. River Is Rising At 'Alarming Rate':
Our Newscast unit spoke to Luzerne County Commisioner Maryanne C. Petrilla, who represents an area that encompasses Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
"It's alarming how fast the river is rising. You look out one minute and it's at one point, you look out 40 minutes later it's... it's rising at an alarming rate," said Petrilla.
Petrilla added that the Susquehanna River is expected to crest from 8 p.m. to midnight today.
Update at 2:05 p.m. ET. 'It's Going To Get Much Worse':
The situation in the area of Binghamton, N.Y. is looking dire. The Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin reports leaders are saying this flood will be of "historical proportions."
The paper has also posted some dramatic live video, which shows the Susquehanna River perilously close to overflowing its banks in downtown Binghamton:
Update at 1:47 p.m. ET. The Standard Speaker reports on the situation along the Susquehanna River:
"With the Susquehanna River now projected to crest before midnight at 40.7 feet, Luzerne County officials accelerated their deadline for a mandatory evacuation order. ...
"Tens of thousands of people are affected by the evacuation order, which covers an area devastated by flooding following Tropical Storm Agnes in 1972.
"That area is now largely protected by a levee system that officials said would guard against river levels of 41 to 43 feet - slightly higher than publicly reported."
The same kind of situation is developing in parts of New Jersey, where the Delaware river is at "moderate flood stage." The Times of Trenton reports:
Trenton's Island and Glen Afton sections, still cleaning up from Hurricane Irene flooding, were evacuated again as flood water surged from the Delaware river, authorities said.
Traffic jammed for miles on Route 195 westbound during the morning commute after authorities were forced to shut Route 29 where it meets with the highway and divert all traffic onto Route 129. Additional flooding on Route 1 near Perry street and in Lawrence jammed traffic throughout the area.
The National Weather Service has issued flood warnings and flash flood warnings across a wide swath that stretches from Virginia to Vermont.
The Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang pulled this bit from the National Weather Service Office in Binghamton, New York that explains what's going on:
"Bad combo of ingredients in place to continue very heavy rainfall this evening. Closed upper low continues to spin over the Ohio Valley [associated with the remnants of Lee]...with a deep southerly fetch along the Eastern Seaboard...only adding to the moisture in place from the remains of Tropical Storm Lee. As an additive factor...water vapor loops show [high level] tropopause moisture from distant Hurricane Katia...getting steered all the way into the heavty rain area...from the mid-Atlantic into NY/PA. This synoptic pattern resembles the major flood event from June 2006..."
In other words, the wet weather will continue and flooding is very possible. Areas in the mid-Atlantic have already received 3 to 6 inches of rain and areas a bit north have seen 6 to 10 inches.

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