Flooding affected much of eastern Pennsylvania from Philadelphia to the Poconos on Monday, with the rising waters of the Lackawanna River spilling over their banks in northern Luzerne County after nightfall as the Susquehanna also rose dramatically.
Here are highlights from Monday and what you need to know for today:
• The National Weather Service issued a flash flood watch, which was scheduled to be in effect until 6 a.m. Tuesday for several counties in the region, including Luzerne, Lackawanna and Wyoming, as well as neighboring counties in New York.
• It’s not done raining. NWS says there is a chance of showers and thunderstorms, then showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm after 10 a.m. today, and some of the storms could produce heavy rainfall.
• The Susquehanna is on the rise. NWS stats show the river at Wilkes-Barre increased from 6.89 feet at 10 a.m. Monday to 10.9 feet by 10 p.m. As of 12:30 a.m. today it was at 13.68 feet and rising. The current forecast calls for a crest of 24.5 feet on Wednesday afternoon. Minor flooding around unprotected areas can begin at 22 feet.
• The Lackawanna rose even more dramatically. The river at Old Forge was at 3.85 feet as of 12:30 Monday afternoon. It was at 14.32 feet as of 11 p.m. Monday. Current forecast calls for a crest of 15.4 feet at about 8 a.m. today. That puts it just shy of the 16-foot major flood stage.
DURYEA AND AREA
Moderate flooding was an issue in parts of northern Luzerne County late Monday and into this morning, with many roads closed and some evacuations in progress.
• In Duryea, borough police were advising residents whose properties were impacted by the 2011 flood to take precautions, and the borough was putting up its flood gates as the Lackawanna River was rising. Residents on Chittenden Street were being informed they may want to move items to higher ground and evacuate those homes as a precaution.
• Some parts of North Main Street in Pittston were under several inches of water Monday night due to flash flooding, including the area around Panama Street.
PennDOT listed the following roads around Luzerne County closed as of midnight:
• SR 424 East from the intersection of Poplar St in Hazleton to the end of PA 434.
• SR 424 West from the intersection of 93 in Hazle Township to the intersection of Poplar St in Hazleton.
• SR 924 from Schuylkill County to intersection of Chestnut Hill Dr, Hazle Twp., Luzerne County
• SR 2019 (Columbus Ave/Oak St/Tedrick St) from the intersection of Sunrise Dr in Pittston Twp. to the intersection of Brown St in Pittston Twp.
• SR 2024 (Main ST/Maffett St.) from the intersection of Trailer Park Rd to the intersection of Latona Trucking in Jenkins Twp.
• SR 2033 (Coxton RD) from the intersection of Main St in Duryea to the intersection of the Lackawanna County Line in Duryea
• SR 4004 (W Butler ST/Shickshinny Valley RD) from the Columbia County Line to the intersection of Saw Mill Rd in Salem Twp.
Town police earlier Monday issued an immediate evacuation notice as flood waters caused Fishing Creek to overflow its banks.
“The water is rising quickly. Evacuate now,” it added.
Video posted to the Fox56 website from a viewer shows a camper floating along the muddy water under a bridge, as stunned onlookers can only say “oh, my God.”
As the Associated Press was reporting:
• The National Weather Service in State College said there were numerous reports of 6 inches of rain or more in Schuylkill and Columbia counties.
• In the Benton area north of Bloomsburg, three helicopters with a group run by the National Guard and the state Fish and Boat Commission performed about 10 rescues, including people plucked from the roofs of their homes, according to the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency.
The agency also said that in Columbia County a helicopter team rescued nine people off of roofs, three of which were children.
High water in Port Carbon caused some evacuations and prompted firefighters to launch rescue boats and rafts. Parts of Pottsville were inundated, and three shelters were set up.
• Choppy waters on the Lehigh River prompted conflicting reports of a group of missing rafters.
• Water rescue teams from Lehigh and Northampton counties were dispatched to an area near Slatington after a rafting company reported that they could not account for nearly 150 rafters.
The Morning Call reported that emergency officials have talked to the company and they said they believe everyone is accounted for and on their way home, according to the AP.
• National Weather Service meteorologist Aaron Tyburski said the latest downpours followed weeks of a stalled weather pattern that is drawing moisture from the Atlantic Ocean, hitting some communities repeatedly.
“It’s been quite a rough go for them over the past three weeks,” Tyburski said.