Nightly News   |  September 08, 2011

Thousands flee Northeast flooding

Nearly 100,000 people from New York to Maryland were ordered to flee the rising Susquehanna River as the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee dumped more rain across the Northeast, closing highways and soaking areas still recovering from Hurricane Irene. NBC’s Anne Thompson reports.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> good evening, well last night, it was los angeles , tonight's washington, last night it was the republicans, tonight it's the republicans, the speech to the joint session of congress , we'll get to all of it in just a moment. but first tonight, we have yet another natural disaster and a very big crisis. a cruel outcome of the relent less rains and flooding we have been suffering through in this half of the country. this happening now from maryland north to new england, and this is the work of tropical storm lee which just stormed through new orleans a few days back. tonight the worst of it is in wilk wilkes-barre, pennsylvania . combined evacuations over 120,000 people. it's where we begin tonight with nbc's anne thompson , she's in pennsylvania .

>> reporter: the susquehanna river is expected to crest in the wee hours of the morning, but already officials are turning off the power and natural gas service to some homes in the wilkes -barre area. tonight pennsylvania is on its highest state of alert . this is the sound of trouble, creek s near wilkes -barre running over. the already swollen susquehanna river , carrying millions of gallons of extra water, pushing debris down the wyoming valley and swamping crucial infrastructure.

>> we face a clear, public health energy. sewage treatment plants are under water and no longer working.

>> reporter: where the river is expected to crest just below the 4 1/2 foot levee. he was just 5 in 1972 when hurricane agnes topped shorter lea levees and flooded moats of the area. what do you say if you stay behind ?

>> you're on your own. if you're in the area and there's a problem, you may not get the assistance.

>> reporter: the flood waters got to this home before she could get out.

>> it's going to be a mess. i don't know how we're going to get it done after it goes down.

>> reporter: today's rain brought now misery to waterlogged new york. 10,000 people forced from their homes ahead of the overflowing river. in new jersey, inundated by irene a week and a half ago, today punished by lee. in this yabneighborhood, 22 homes are condemned.

>> there's nothing they can do.

>> reporter: here in pennsylvania , the loss is even greater. four people died in the flooding, two in lancaster county . where tonight the roads and the susquehanna are indistinguishabe indistinguishable. tonight pennsylvania 's governor is warning to stay out of the floodwater, they could be toxic.