Nearly 100,000 told to flee new US flooding

At Binghamton, New York, the wide river broke a flood record and flowed over retaining walls downtown. About 128 kilometres downstream in Wilkes-Barre, the river was projected to crest later today at 12.5 metres, the same height as the levee system, officials said. Residents were ordered to leave by 4 pm.

Wet weather followed by Hurricane Irene and its remnants have saturated the soil across the Northeast, leaving water no place to go but into already swollen creeks and rivers.

Many areas flooding this week were spared a direct hit by Irene, but authorities took no chances in the same places inundated by historic flooding after Hurricane Agnes in 1972.
The National Weather Service predicted up to 25 centimetres of rain in some areas through today.

Evacuation orders were issued yesterday to some 20,000 people in Binghamton and neighbouring communities along the Susquehanna.

More than 70,000 residents in Wilkes-Barre and Kingston in Pennsylvania were told to leave, along with people in about 170 homes about 145 kilometres downstream in Harrisburg.

Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tom Leighton said residents should prepare for an evacuation of 72 hours and advised them to take clothing, food and prescription medicine. He also asked city businesses to close at midday.

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