Still recovering from Hurricane Irene, the East Coast is being hit again by remnants of Tropical Storm Lee. Rain comes on and off for the East Coast, sometimes only drizzling, but the rivers and streams continue to rise. Among many of the areas flooded are the many towns along the Susquehanna River. Rural towns are nestled along 444 miles of water that lead down into the Chesapeake Bay. As water surged over flood walls built decades ago to protect residences from potential flooding from the Susquehanna River, 20,000 people were ordered to head for higher ground. This is said to be the worst flooding in the history of Binghamton, at least since the flood walls were built in the 1930s and ’40s. Besides the town of Binghamton, nearly 100,000 people from New York to Maryland were ordered to flee the rising Susquehanna River on Thursday.
As of 5:30 p.m. ET Thursday, the Susquehanna was at 38.44 feet near Wilkes-Barre. Flood stage is 22 feet, according to the National Weather Service. The valley has a levee system that tops out at 41 feet, and the river is projected to crest just shy of that Friday morning, near 40.7 feet, according to Drew McLaughlin, a spokesman for the Wilkes-Barre mayor’s office.
Many major roadways have been closed and damage is unable to be assessed because of the height of the water. Three lives have been lost in this record-setting flood so far. A 71-year-old man died Wednesday night in Derry Township, Pennsylvania, as he was bailing water out of the basement of his home and the walls of the structure caved in, said Chief Patrick O’Rourke of Derry Township Police. A second person drowned early Thursday near Brickerville in Lancaster County, CNN affiliate WGAL-TV reported. A third person died about 4:30 a.m. Thursday in North Lebanon Township, Pennsylvania, police said. A motorist became stranded in high water and was outside the vehicle when struck by another vehicle, which then left the scene. The suspect and that vehicle were found, authorities said.
More precipitation is expected for much of the region in the next couple of days, with an additional 2 to 6 inches forecast — and in isolated cases as much as 10 inches, according to the National Weather Service.