Surging rivers in Northeast force officials to order 120,000 to evacuate

People stranded on the back of a pickup await rescue as floodwaters rise Wednesday in Mount Joy, Pa. At least four deaths in Pennsylvania were attributed to Tropical Storm Lee.

Associated Press

People stranded on the back of a pickup await rescue as floodwaters rise Wednesday in Mount Joy, Pa. At least four deaths in Pennsylvania were attributed to Tropical Storm Lee.

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — As the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee deluged states across the Northeast on Thursday, rivers that had overrun their banks after Hurricane Irene were again swelling past the breaking point, prompting officials to order the evacuation of at least 120,000 people while surging waters threatened major population centers. At least four deaths in Pennsylvania and two deaths in Virginia were attributed to the storm.

The Susquehanna River, which stretches more than 400 miles from upstate New York to the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, reached record flood levels, forcing many residents still recovering from Irene to abandon their homes once again.

Roads and highways closed all over the Northeast, including sections of New York's Interstate 88, which follows the Susquehanna's path, and parts of Interstate 495 in the D.C. suburbs. In Philadelphia, flooding and a rock slide closed the eastbound lanes of the Schuylkill Expressway, a major artery into the city.

TROPICAL STORMS: The National Hurricane Center is watching three tropical storms in the gulf and Atlantic. Tropical Storm Nate had maximum sustained winds of 70 mph and could become a hurricane today. It was centered about 110 miles west of Campeche, Mexico, and was drifting southeast near 1 mph before a forecast change to the east or northeast. Tropical Storm Maria was crossing the open Atlantic with top sustained winds of 40 mph. Maria was centered about 430 miles east of the Windward Islands and was moving west at 21 mph. And Hurricane Katia was blowing northward as a Category 1 storm in the Atlantic, passing between the United States and Bermuda. Its winds were 85 mph. Katia wasn't expected to hit land.

TEXAS FIRES: Texas fire officials have brought some of the blazes that incinerated nearly 1,400 homes and miles of parched land under control, allowing residents to return to their homes.

Surging rivers in Northeast force officials to order 120,000 to evacuate 09/09/11 [Last modified: Friday, September 9, 2011 12:03am]

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