The flooding here in the Mid-Atlantic states is getting drastic and it seems as though it’s been raining for weeks. Now, officials in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania have ordered the mandatory evacuation of about 120,000 residents of the Wyoming Valley by 4 p.m. EDT today for all areas affected by the Agnes Flood of 1972.
Yes, this is now officially the worst flooding seen in the region since Hurricane Agnes ravaged the area almost 40 years ago.
The deadline was moved up from its original time of 8 p.m. EDT due to the rapid rate at which the Susquehanna River is rising.
The river is expected to crest at 39.6 feet by 5 a.m. EDT on Friday morning, which make it the second-worst flooding event in the area’s history.
There is also a 30 percent chance of a higher crest, according to local officials.
The Wyoming Valley Levee System protects local communities along the river up to crests of 41 feet.
Officials are confident in the levee, but the projected crest is “coming too close for comfort,” Emergency Management Agency director Steve Bekanich said at a press briefing this morning at EMA headquarters.
“We do not anticipate any problems with the levee system. Forty feet is within the design. However, there is still uncertainly with what the forecast will be,” said Jim Brozena, director of the Wyoming Valley Flood Protection Authority.
The evacuation order is expected to hold until at least Sunday for people who live along the levee system, and possibly into early next week for those living in low-lying areas.
“This is going to be an extended evacuation,” said Luzerne County Commissioner Stephen Urban.
If you happen to live in an affected area, you should know that three shelters have been established. Evacuation centers are set up at Luzerne County Community College in Nanticoke, State Street Elementary in Larksville, and Pittston Area and Wyoming Area high schools.
Officials are also hoping to open up evacuation centers at GAR High School in Wilkes-Barre and Solomon/Plains Junior High School in Plains Township. They’re also setting up three shelters in the Back Mountain area at Lake-Lehman High School, Dallas Middle School, and Misericordia University.
You are welcome to bring pets to these shelters.
“We are doing this with the safety of the citizens of the county in mind. We want to ensure folks have ample opportunity to get out of the area that will be impacted or has the potential to be impacted by this near record flooding situation that is affecting our area,” Bekanich said.
If you live in an affected area, please take this warning very seriously and get to a shelter.
- Major flood predicted for Susquehanna River at Harrisburg as a crest of 24.2 feet is forecast (pennlive.com)
- Thousands told to evacuate as flash floods hit East (msnbc.msn.com)