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HERSHEY, PA.—As the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee continue to dump rain across the Northeast United States, hundreds of thousands of residents are being forced to evacuate their homes today. The Susquehanna River is expected to crest at 41 feet sometime between 4 pm and 8 pm this Thursday. That level would put the water at the same height as the levee system that protects riverfront communities including Wilkes-Barre and Kingston, where residents have been issued a mandatory evacuation.
"There is no need to panic," Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tom Leighton said. "This is a precautionary evacuation and the safety of our residents is our biggest concern. We have prepared for this type of emergency and we are ready to respond to whatever comes our way over the next 72 hours."
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About 80 miles upstream from Wilkes-Barre in Binghamton, N.Y., the Susquehanna River has already broken flood records and overflowed the retaining walls downtown. Evacuation orders were given to nearly 20,000 residents in the city and in neighboring communities along the Susquehanna on Wednesday, but emergency responders are still scrambling to evacuate citizens that are still in the town.
In Broome County where the Susquehanna and Chenango rivers converge, the flood waters began coming over the walls at about 10 am this morning, less than twelve hours after the area was given the order to evacuate.