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Pa. residents return home as river recedes

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Tens of thousands of people forced from their homes in Pennsylvania were allowed to return Saturday as the Susquehanna River receded from high floodwaters caused by remnants of Tropical Storm Lee.

Other residents who had evacuated river towns in New York and Maryland were waiting for permission to return as officials surveyed flooding damage.

Pennsylvania officials lifted an evacuation order Saturday afternoon for as many as 60,000 of 70,000 residents in and around Wilkes-Barre. The rest were expected to return later Saturday and today, said Luzerne County Emergency Management Agency director Stephen Bekanich.

The Susquehanna's level had dropped to about 32 feet Saturday morning and was expected to be back within its banks at about 29 feet, Luzerne County Commissioner Maryanne Petrilla said. The Susquehanna crested Thursday at nearly 42.7 feet in Wilkes-Barre.

The river reached a 15-year high of 32.4 feet Friday at the Conowingo Dam in Maryland.

At least 15 deaths have been blamed on Lee and its aftermath.

Storm aims at Mexico's coast

Air and sea search teams intensified their hunt Saturday for 10 missing oil workers as Tropical Storm Nate headed west. It is threatening parts of Mexico's gulf coast, where hurricane conditions are expected today, the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said. Missing are four U.S. workers, four Mexican workers, one worker from Kazakhstan and a 10th of unconfirmed nationality. They work for Geokinetics Inc. of Houston.

Katia: Former Hurricane Katia was downgraded in the far north Atlantic. It is still expected to bring strong winds to the British Isles on Monday.

Maria: Forecasters said the remnants of Maria were barely a tropical cyclone and were about 310 miles east-southeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Pa. residents return home as river recedes 09/10/11 [Last modified: Saturday, September 10, 2011 11:30pm]
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