KINGSTON – Mayor James Haggerty said portable metal flood gates installed at the Market Street Bridge saved the municipality from the swollen Susquehanna River. Kingston officials spray painted a white high-water mark on the side of the wall near the Market Street Bridge.
Kingston Mayor James Haggerty and Kingston Emergency Management Coordinator Tom McTague look over the dirt and rock that Kingston dumped near the flood gates to help stop leaks at their base. But not before a few tense hours late Thursday night into Friday morning.
“The river at its worse was 8 or 9 feet up on those gates for us,” Haggerty said. “The pressure from the river was gushing out under, almost shooting straight out under the gates.”
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The Susquehanna River crested nearly four feet higher in Wilkes-Barre than originally announced. A gauge malfunctioned that measures the river level. The river actually crested at a level higher than Hurricane Agnes in 1972 (40.91 feet) and set a record of 42.66 feet Friday morning.
This high level of water is straining the levee system to its maximum. Water is leaking into downtown Wilkes-Barre through the flood gates on the Market Street Bridge.
The levee at Forty Fort is also compromised and in danger of collapse. Governor Corbett has strongly urged Wyoming Valley residents to head evacuation warnings.
Evidently it is not uncommon for gauges to malfunction during high water events.
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The West Branch of the Susquehanna River will be one foot above flood stage in Lock Haven if the predicted 22 foot crest comes to pass. Williamsport is predicted to see the river crest above 25 feet. Fortunately, both communities have a levee system in place that protects the majority of residences and businesses in the flood plain.
The good news is that the drought warning for Lycoming County (and many other counties in the state) has been lifted with all the rain from Irene and Lee.