Lest we forget, there is still flooding going on in our country, but thankfully the worst appears to be over.
New York Times
June 29, 2006
Worst of Flooding in Northeast Appears to Be Over
By ALAN FEUER
A network of swollen rivers, heavy from days of steady rain, spilled across their banks Wednesday, threatening to inundate towns and cities from Virginia to Vermont and causing tens of thousands of evacuations along the banks of the Susquehanna and Delaware Rivers in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
But the waters did not rise to the direst predicted levels overnight, and in one area where officials ordered 200,000 people to evacuate — in and around Wilkes-Barre, Pa. — a system of levees appears to have held back the surging Susquehanna River.
The levees, reinforced in 2004, are designed to protect the city against river levels of up to 41 feet. The river peaked Wednesday evening at about 35 feet and a feared second surge early this morning that might have overtopped the levees did not appear.
There was some flooding in surrounding areas. But unless there are further heavy rains today, the worst is over for the region, according to Paul Head of the National Weather Service's Middle Atlantic River Forecast Center in State College, Pa. "The water that has fallen is in the river and heading downstream," Mr. Head said in a telephone interview this morning.
Though the Susquehanna has yet to peak in downstream locations like Harrisburg, he said, severe flooding there is less likely because the river is much wider and because only its north branch has been swollen by the recent rains.
Still, he said, swollen tributaries of the river are still doing severe damage in some locations, like the Swatara Creek in Hershey, Pa.
Officials in Wilkes-Barre told Reuters that 50,000 to 70,000 people complied with the call to evacuate and were housed overnight at high schools, fire stations and police stations on high ground. A two-punch combination of saturated earth and rising currents led to at least 10 deaths in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region, and there were reports of two houses, one with a 15-year-old girl trapped inside, set adrift. The day of devastation led the governors of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania to declare emergencies across wide swaths of their states.
The potential for destruction was so widespread and unpredictable that the National Weather Service issued flood warnings for eight states.The damage from the floods was still being tallied this morning, and the reports were sobering. Two truck drivers died yesterday near Sidney, N.Y., 35 miles from Binghamton, when their rigs plunged into a 50-foot-deep hole in the washed-out bed of Interstate 88, and a 15-year-old Pennsylvania boy as well as someone trying to rescue him drowned in a lake in Luzerne County, officials said.
Gov. Edward G. Rendell of Pennsylvania declared emergencies in 46 of the state's 67 counties and activated 1,000 members of the National Guard, saying the storms were "a major hardship." Entire villages in Delaware County, N.Y., were left stranded.
Several people were reported missing, their fates unknown