The long-living tropical storm Lee has been pouring rain on top of an already soaked Northeast, forcing the closure of scores of roadways and forcing residents out of their homes. So far, 100,000 people have been told to head for dry land as the Susquehanna River is poised to break it’s 40 year flood record.
The Susquehanna River snakes its way through 400 miles of land from upstate New York to Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay. The river is threatening to overflow its banks in many areas which is forcing weather-weary people to pack up their homes and to move in with family, friends or to stay in temporary shelters. In Binghamton, New York, over 19,000 residents were told to evacuate as all roads to the city have been shut down as the big river rose eleven feet above flood level there, sending water rushing over retainer walls and into the downtown district. Binghamton is situated between the Susquehanna and Chenago rivers, leaving it particularly vulnerable. Just a bit south of Binghamton the river is expected to crest at more than eighteen feet above flood stage in the Wilkes-Barre area, forcing tens of thousands of residents there to leave their homes. Businesses in Wilkes-Barre closed at noon Thursday, leaving the city looking like a ghost town. Flood cleanup efforts could last months in Allentown and Harrisburg Pennsylvania.
Rivers and creeks neared or surpassed flood stage yesterday from Maryland to Massachusetts and weather experts are warning that more flooding is on its way. Tropical storm Lee has been compounding the misery for many people who are still trying to recover from the damages done by Hurricane Irene. At least eleven people in the Northeast have lost their lives because of Lee which has resulted in officials in many states reminding people not to venture out into the flood waters. It is unusual to have such high numbers of people being ordered to leave their homes in the US due to flooding although hurricanes like Irene can force millions to seek dry land.
President Obama has declared states of emergencies in both Pennsylvania and New York. These two states have been hit the hardest by the torrential rainfall and flooding caused by Lee. Officials in both states are scrambling to put emergency measures into place as they are expecting the worst to happen. Both states are stockpiling food, water supplies and generators.