Friday, September 9, 2011

Tropical storm Lee floods US

The remnants of Tropical Storm Lee poured water on top of the already soaked US northeast on Thursday, closing hundreds of roads and forcing evacuation orders for more than 100,000 people from the Susquehanna River's worst flooding in nearly 40 years. In Binghamton, New York, a city of about 45,000, the Susquehanna coursed into the streets and climbed halfway up lampposts and storage sheds.

Mayor Matt Ryan said it was the city's worst flooding since the flood walls were built in the 1930s and `40s. Buses and then boats were used to evacuate residents, and National Guard troops were on hand to help. A large evacuation shelter was opened on the campus of Binghamton University. It is able to house more than 1,000 evacuees, and they have been steadily filing in since Wednesday.

Up to nine inches of rain fell in Binghamton and areas of Pennsylvania. Rivers and streams passed or approached flood stage from Maryland to Massachusetts, and experts said more flooding was coming. Downstream, up to 75,000 residents were ordered to leave in and around Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, where the levee system is just high enough to hold back the if it crests at the predicted level. Even if the levees hold, 800 to 900 unprotected homes were in danger.

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