Flash flooding along the northeast of the United States killed five people this week and U.S. President Barack Obama has declared a state of emergency in New York State, as historic flooding swelled rivers to record levels.
Reports are that at least three deaths occurred in Pennsylvania because of the flooding.
An elderly man was reportedly killed on Wednesday when his house's foundation collapsed while he was trying to bail water out of his basement, Police in Derry Township, Pa., told the media.
Lancaster County Emergency Management Director Randy Gockley has said a motorist trapped in a vehicle drowned early Thursday morning in Elizabeth Township, Pa. He also confirmed another death Thursday morning to the media.
Deaths have also been reported in Maryland and Virginia.
State of Emergency
In declaring a state of emergency early Friday, Obama has cleared the way for federal assistance to be sent to rain-damaged counties of Albany, Broome, Chenango, Chemung, Delaware, Greene, Herkimer, Montgomery, Oneida, Otsego, Rensselaer, Schenectady, Schoharie, Sullivan, and Tioga.
The aftermath of Tropical Storm Lee has caused a new round of flooding on Thursday affecting already storm-weary residents in northeastern states and rising waters have forced about 120,000 people to evacuate. Lee's lingering rain has been swamping the region since Wednesday, adding to the problems residents and emergency responders in those areas are still mopping up after Hurricane Irene about a week earlier.
The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency declared a state of emergency for Pennsylvania, where steady rainfall this week has caused the Susquehana River to swell to record levels. More than 100,000 people in Pennsylvania have been told to evacuate the area.
The Associated Press reported that early on Friday that the river was 3 feet below the top of the levees.
On Thursday, authorities in northeastern Pennsylvania called for a mandatory evacuation of more than 100,000 people in the vicinity of the Susquehanna River by 4 p.m. that day. On taht day, heavy rainfall increased the water level in the Susquehanna River, which runs through the city, to more than 18 feet above normal in 24 hours.
The river was projected to peak at 41 feet between 4 and 8 p.m. on Thursday, which is the same height as the levee system protecting riverfront communities including Wilkes-Barre and Kingston, Luzerne County Management Agency official Frank Lasiewicki told The AP.
Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tom Leighton has said residents should prepare for an extended evacuation of 72 hours and he advised them to take clothing, food and prescription medicine.
Roads and highways were reported closed in Philadelphia, as flooding and a rock slide closed eastbound lanes of the Schuylkill Expressway, a major means of transportation into the city.
Up in Broome County, N.Y., all rivers have crested or are about to as of 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, according to the County's Web site.
This means river levels are going down but this by no means indicates the danger is over, the statement on the Web site noted.
Conklin ended up cresting at about a foot lower than 2006, while the rivers at Binghamton crested 9 inches higher than they did in 2006.
All Broome County School Districts closed on Friday along with government offices.
Anyone who was under a mandatory evacuation order should not return to their home, a county release stated. Floods and flash floods may have jeopardized the integrity of the structure.
In mandatory evacuation areas, authorities shut off the electricity and gas as a safety precaution.
Persistent heavy rains from the aftermath of Lee also left 25,000 customers in New York without power, according to information release from Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office.
Cuomo issued a statement on Thursday noting that 21,600 of those customers are in NYSEG's Binghamton Division where flooding has become a major problem.
There were five substations out at that time for safety reasons serving approximately 7,500 electric distribution customers in the Binghamton area, the release stated.
That area reportedly got more than 10 inches of rain on Wednesday and many of the rivers and creeks there were expected to reach historic levels.
The flooding is reportedly nearing levels not seen since Hurricane Agnes in 1972. As of 6 a.m. EDT on Thursday, the Susquehanna River was at 29.07 feet (8.86 meters).
Also in New York, the Thruway Authority was expected to close a 105-mile stretch of Interstate 90 on Thursday where it runs along the Mohawk River, which had overflowed its banks in some areas. This is the state's most heavily traveled east-west highway.
Cuomo sends help
Cuomo on Wednesday deployed the state's full response capacity to Broome County.
About 125 National Guard troops with high axle clearance vehicles have been deployed to the area to help in rescues. Emergency services and management, along with swift water boats and specially trained crews from the New York State Police and the State Department of Environmental Conservation have also been dispatched to the area.
He also requested emergency and major disaster declarations from the federal government, in response to the severe flash flooding and major flood conditions that have developed in portions of the Southern Tier, Southern Finger Lakes, Hudson Valley, Capital Region, Central New York and Southwestern Regions of the State, and many areas previously affected by Hurricane Irene.
With the recent heavy rains and severe flash flooding, we are on the verge of a crisis and federal assistance is urgently needed to help protect New Yorkers, Cuomo said in a statement. I have directed state resources to areas that are currently experiencing widespread flooding to assist with emergency procedures.
Additional 2 inches of rainfall for Maryland
Up to two inches of rain an hour was pouring down on parts of Maryland.
The National Weather Service has said on Thursday that the flash flood warning still remains in effect until 4 p.m. EDT that day for Montgomery County. The warning included Olney, Montgomery Village, Germantown, Gaithersburg, and Damascus, which could see more flooding.
On Friday, NWS said a flash flood warning remains in effect for some Washington areas until 8 p.m.