Thursday, September 08, 2011

Widespread Flooding Across New Jersey and Pennsylvania As Rivers Rise; NY Seeing Historic Flooding

Overnight we got quite a bit of rain and flooding is resuming across parts of Northern and Central New Jersey flooded out by Irene. Now comes word that 100,000 people are being evacuated in parts of Pennsylvania due to the same rains - remnants from TS Lee. There's major flooding and problems around Philadelphia, including mudslides closing the Schuylkill Expressway and major flooding expected along the Susquehanna and Delaware Rivers:
Major flooding is feared later today on the northern half of the Delaware River and in Trenton emergency officials were preparing to evacuate residents of low lying neighborhoods.

Havertown declared a state of emergency. Evacuations were under way at a condominium development in New Hope.

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning in effect until 11:15 a.m., citing dangerous" conditions.

Even as the rain started to ease by 6:30 a.m., and water started to recede in some spots, evidence of the damage from the flash flooding was widespread. Some waterways, however, were expected to keep rising for hours.

The Schuylkill Expressway was closed between the Blue Route to Girard Avenue due to a mud slide and flooding at three different locations.

Suburban motorists were being advised to get off eastbound 76 at the Blue Route and take it south to northbound I-95 to get into the city.
Gov. Tom Corbett has activated the National Guard and hasn't yet issued a separate disaster declaration from those issued following Hurricane Irene but may do so if necessary.

Flooding along the Susquehanna River may crest at the top of levees protecting Wilkes Barre and Kingston.
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.
Flooding for New Hope, PA and Lambertville, NJ are going to be near historic levels rivaling floods during 2005 and 2006. The Flood Warning continues for
the Delaware River at New Hope-Lambertville bridge.
* From this morning to Saturday evening... or until the warning is
* At 2:45 am Thursday the stage was 12.2 feet.
* Flood stage is 13.0 feet.
* Major flooding is forecast.
* Forecast... rise above flood stage by this morning and continue to rise
to near 17.3 feet by tomorrow morning. The river will fall below flood
stage by Saturday early afternoon.
* Impact... at 17.0 feet... water is up to the top of the free bridge
That means that the area will have been hit by yet another historic level flood. That would put it on par with flooding from 2005, when this photo was taken.

The Catskill reservoirs are pretty much maxed out from the Irene flooding, and there's no additional capacity to divert waters, which means that the downstream rivers are flooding and there's nothing anyone can do about it except to get out of the way.

The Southern Tier of New York near Binghamton is suffering from historic flooding along the Susquehanna River. The Susquehanna and Chenango Rivers come together in town, and while the town has flood walls that rise 15 feet, the rivers are expected to crest a full foot above that - meaning that significant parts of the city are expected to flood. There are already reports of overtopping in numerous locations and some seepage under and through the levee system is being reported.
The rain-swollen Susquehanna River overflowed retaining walls in downtown Binghamton today, sending water coursing down city streets and leaving officials scrambling to evacuate holdouts who didn’t heed earlier warnings to leave.

The Susquehanna’s water level was higher than 25 feet this morning, above the 25-foot record set in 2006 and more than 11 feet above flood stage, according to the National Weather Service. It was expected to rise another foot or so this afternoon.

Water started coming over the city’s retaining walls about 10 a.m., less than 12 hours after officials issued a mandatory evacuation order for sections near where the Susquehanna and Chenango rivers converge, Broome County emergency services manager Brett Chellis told The Associated Press.

“It’s getting worse by the minute,” Chellis said.

In downtown Binghamton, water coursed down city streets and climbed halfway up trees and streetlamps on a plaza at Confluence Park where the two rivers meet.
These floods are even higher than the historic 2006 flooding. The Susquehanna isn't expected to crest until later today more than a foot above the 2006 record in Binghamton, 2 feet more than the 2006 record in Vestal, and you can repeat the situation downstream.

The situation is much the same up and down the Southern Tier Expressway (I-86/Rt. 17) corridor that is a major East/West route through New York, as well as I-88, which runs between Binghamton and Albany. SUNY Binghamton is serving as an evacuation center for some residents, and the town of Oneonta (also home to a SUNY School) is seeing major flooding.

In sum, we're seeing major flooding, major interstate highways blocked, flooded, or washed out, and the worst of the flooding is still to come as some of the rivers have yet to crest. Flash flood warnings are in effect for parts of PA, NY, and NJ.

There have been some incredible photos taken of all the flooding. Hershey Park is pretty much underwater and places that have never experienced this kind of flooding before are seeing floods and all kinds of damage from this storm system. We're talking massive and pervasive damage to infrastructure throughout the region.

Rainfall totals from the past 24 hours are impressive in the NYC metro area and the totals are rising in some places. Rainfall levels in parts of upstate New York are still coming in and are in the process of being updated.

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