Officials in northeastern Pennsylvania called for a mandatory evacuation of more than 100,000 residents living along the Susquehanna River on Thursday due to expected flooding. The area was inundated in the historic Agnes flood of 1972.
Luzerne County Management Agency official Frank Lasiewicki told The Associated Press Thursday the river is projected to crest at 41 feet between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. Thursday - the same height as the levee system protecting riverfront communities including Wilkes-Barre and Kingston. Residents were ordered to leave by 4 p.m.
Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tom Leighton said residents should prepare for an extended evacuation of 72 hours and advised them to take clothing, food and prescription medicine. He also asked city businesses to close their doors by noon.
The evacuations come as the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee dumped heavy rain and caused havoc around the Northeast on Thursday, bringing floods that cut off major highways and caused some schools to open late or not at all.
Flood watches and warnings were in effect from Maryland to New England. Roads and highways were closed around the region. In Philadelphia, flooding and a rock slide closed the eastbound lanes of the Schuylkill Expressway, a major artery into the city, and it could take hours for the road to reopen.