September 8th, 2011
01:45 PM ET

Residents scramble to leave houses during northeast flooding

Thousands of people were told to evacuate their homes Thursday as the remnants of former Tropical Storm Lee moved across already-sodden portions of the Northeast, triggering near-historic flooding and leaving at least three people dead. Central and northeastern parts of Pennsylvania were hit hard. In Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, 65,000 to 70,000 people were ordered to leave their homes as the Susquehanna River rose above flood stage, according to Emergency Management Coordinator Stephen Bekanich.

The rising Susquehanna and Chenango rivers were also triggering evacuations in upstate New York, where evacuation orders were issued for portions of the city of Binghamton and the towns of Conklin, Endicott, Johnson City, Union and Vestal, according to CNN affiliate YNN.

Numerous cities and counties declared a state of emergency. For our full CNN Wire story on the flooding click here.

[Updated at 5:10 p.m. ET] Officials in northeastern Pennsylvania's Luzerne County, where 65,000 to 70,000 people were ordered to leave their homes as the Susquehanna River rose above flood stage, are "getting more and more alarmed as the day progresses," Luzerne County Commissioner Maryanne Petrilla said.

She said the river is forecast to crest between midnight Thursday and 2 a.m. Friday. Shelter space for 4,100 was rapidly being filled and the county was looking for more space, Petrilla told CNN.

[Updated at 2:40 p.m. ET] The Mayor of Port Deposit, Maryland, has ordered mandatory evacuations, Kathy Gray, town hall spokeswoman told CNN.

"The order goes into effect as of 8 p.m. tonight. It was voluntary as of this morning," Gray said.  "Mayor Wayne Tome signed the order at 12noon today. Flyers are being passed out at this hour to residents.  Port Deposit has a population of 800 residents," Gray said.

[Update 1:45 p.m. ET] The Maryland State Highway Administration says it's closing a section of southbound U.S. 301 indefinitely in La Plata due to storm damage, according to WABC.

[Update 1 p.m. ET] Fairfield, New Jersey, residents prepare for flooding, according to WPIX.

[Update 12:47 p.m. ET] The basketball court at Binghamton University in New York has been transformed into evacuation shelter, according to WBNG. See a gallery on the station's site.

[Update 12:30 p.m. ET] State officials say that148 National Guard troops are in the New York region to help with flooding rescue and transport of water and meals. At least 180 other troops are on their way to the area.

[Update 12:25 p.m. ET] New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is talking at a press conference now. He urged anyone in an evacuation area to get out. "I've been through this more times than I care to remember," he says, telling people not to hesitate just because the sky may look fine and their immediate conditions may seem alright. "This is nothing to be trifled with," he said. "This is going to get much worse...This will be a flood of historic proportion."

Cuomo went on an aerial tour of the entire region, he said. They are going out for another tour shortly.

He said he will be calling on President Barack Obama to designate the area a national disaster zone so that federal assistance can be received.

[Update 12:10 p.m. ET] The stone foundation on a dam in Pennsylvania is reportedly eroding. An evacuation of the inundation area of the Lower Alford Dam near Kingsley is happening, according to Larry Souder, a spokesperson for Susquehanna County, reports CNN affiliate WBNG.

[Update Noon ET] "As we speak the water is topping the flood walls in a number of cities in Broome County [in New York]," said the director of emergency management for the New York county area Brett B. Chellis. He added that there are areas that have no structure in place for flood protection.

"The time is now to evacuate," Chellis urged at a press conference happening now.

As of early Thursday morning, CNN had confirmed that a 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. A second person drowned early Thursday near Brickerville in Lancaster County, CNN affiliate WGAL 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 the person was outside the vehicle when struck by another vehicle, which then left the scene. The suspect and vehicle were located, authorities said.

[Update 11:36 a.m. ET] Floodwaters have canceled classes and shuttered buildings on the campus of the State University of New York in Cobleskill, New York. Video of murky water rushing fast over a concrete sidewalk showed just how serious the situation there is. There has been damage to 10 resident hall wings in five buildings as well as staff offices. Sixty students had to be relocated, according to Scott Silverstein, SUNY's director of communication. "It's not as bad as it was yesterday," he told CNN on Thursday morning, adding that everyone is safe and accounted for on campus. Classes were canceled Wednesday and are canceled Thursday, he said. Officials are assessing the situation for Friday, Silverstein said.

Post by:
Filed under: New York
soundoff (59 Responses)
  1. James

    We are now discussing how to go about funding the reconstruction in Joplin in our state legislature there are disagreements on the way certain monies should be used and how soon or how much should be appropriated but we will get through it because this is the ShowMe State.

    September 8, 2011 at 11:27 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4