Thousands Ordered To Leave As Rain Continues To Pound Northeast
The headline of today's Philadelphia Inquirer says it all:
Enough already with rain!
Philadelphia along with the rest of the Northeast has had a period of intense rainfall that in some places extends 10 days since the tropical cyclone Irene worked its way across the region.
While in Philadelphia the rain has been mostly a nuisance, towns upstate and in New York are facing rising rivers and the threat of floods as bad as when Tropical Storm Agnes hit in 1972.
(Update at 1:47 p.m. ET. The AP reports that in those two states, nearly 100,000 have been ordered to leave.)
The Standard Speaker reports on the situation along the Susquehanna River:
With the Susquehanna River now projected to crest before midnight at 40.7 feet, Luzerne County officials accelerated their deadline for a mandatory evacuation order.
Tens of thousands of people are affected by the evacuation order, which covers an area devastated by flooding following Tropical Storm Agnes in 1972.
That area is now largely protected by a levee system that officials said would guard against river levels of 41 to 43 feet - slightly higher than publicly reported.
Trenton's Island and Glen Afton sections, still cleaning up from Hurricane Irene flooding, were evacuated again as flood water surged from the Delaware river, authorities said.
Traffic jammed for miles on Route 195 westbound during the morning commute after authorities were forced to shut Route 29 where it meets with the highway and divert all traffic onto Route 129. Additional flooding on Route 1 near Perry street and in Lawrence jammed traffic throughout the area.
The National Weather Service has issued flood warnings and flash flood warnings across a wide swath that stretches from Virginia to Vermont.
The Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang pulled this bit from the National Weather Service Office in Binghamton, New York that explains what's going on:
Bad combo of ingredients in place to continue very heavy rainfall this evening. Closed upper low continues to spin over the Ohio Valley [associated with the remnants of Lee]...with a deep southerly fetch along the Eastern Seaboard...only adding to the moisture in place from the remains of Tropical Storm Lee. As an additive factor...water vapor loops show [high level] tropopause moisture from distant Hurricane Katia...getting steered all the way into the heavty rain area...from the mid-Atlantic into NY/PA. This synoptic pattern resembles the major flood event from June 2006...
In other words, the wet weather will continue and flooding is very possible. Areas in the mid-Atlantic have already received 3 to 6 inches of rain and areas a bit north have seen 6 to 10 inches.
Update at 2:05 p.m. ET. 'It's Going To Get Much Worse':
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo urged residents to leave. The paper adds:
Cuomo said his team did an aerial survey this morning, and came to one conclusion: it's going to get much worse before it gets better. That's why it's dire for people to take evacuations seriously.
"Don't look out the door and say, 'it's not that high' — it's going to get much worse," he said. "By the time it gets that bad, you won't be able to leave."
The paper has also posted some dramatic live video, which shows the Susquehanna River perilously close to overflowing its banks in downtown Binghamton: