THIS JUST IN: Abandon Ship!


Downtown Wilkes-Barre in the aftermath of Hurricane Agnes in 1972

ASSOCIATED PRESS: Nearly 100,000 people were ordered to flee the rising Susquehanna River on Thursday as the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee dumped more rain across the Northeast, socking areas still recovering from Hurricane Irene and closing major highways at the morning rush. At Binghamton, N.Y., the wide river broke a flood record and flowed over retaining walls downtown. Interstate 88 was closed and emergency responders scrambled to evacuate holdouts who didn’t heed warnings to leave neighborhoods. About 80 miles downstream in Wilkes-Barre, the river was projected to crest later Thursday at 41 feet – the same height as the levee system, officials said. Residents were ordered to leave by 4 p.m. Wet weather followed by Hurricane Irene and its remnants have saturated the soil across the Northeast, leaving water no place to go but into already swollen creeks and rivers. Many areas flooding this week were spared a direct hit by Irene, but authorities took no chances in the same places inundated by historic flooding after Hurricane Agnes in 1972. MORE

UPDATE: National weather forecasters claimed at 3:30 a.m. Friday that the Susquehanna River crested just below 39 feet. The crest was about two feet lower and 10 hours earlier than expected. MORE

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