Sunday, September 11, 2011

Wyoming Valley Flood 2011-the levee system held, now the cleanup

The Susquehanna River crested above the 1972 Agnes flood level but Wilkes-Barre and the west side of Wyoming Valley didn't get wiped out because Congressman Paul Kanjorski was able to convince President Clinton and the Army Corps of Engineers that the dikes should be able to withstand another flood of that magnitude. I know that there is lot of talk about how the levees funneled water into other areas that are not protected by the system but there are trade offs in every project as Another Monkey points out:

The Susquehanna nearly overtopped these levees this week. Nearly, but it didn't. As of this writing, Wilkes-Barre and Kingston and Forty Fort have been spared the devastation they experienced in 1972. The levees held, bottling up all that water.

Creating a bottleneck to protect one area causes problems elsewhere. West Pittston, just upriver from Wilkes-Barre, has sustained damage in excess of what it experienced in 1972. Jenkins Township, Shickshinny, and other communities not protected by levees have experienced massive devastation. Even if areas destroyed in 1972 fared better now thanks to levees, the increased destruction elsewhere will again result in a multi-billion dollar repair bill.

Kanjo in the TL is reflects on his legacy:

“We probably dodged a bullet that probably would have cost the Wyoming Valley probably five, six billion dollars,” Kanjorski said. “...If those levees hold, there isn't one person in the Wyoming Valley who shouldn't just shout that the federal government did something good; that they built one hell of a levee system. We've got good, clear evidence that federal government, sometimes, does something right....“It was a very long, drawn-out process that took 10 years,” Kanjorski said. “It wasnt until 1996 that I was able to get President Clinton down here to convince him that we needed it... It took more than 10 years after that to complete it, and every year it took millions of dollars in appropriations. I had to get those funds earmarked every year to get those funds.“To protect some of those homes over in Plymouth Township, and I have sympathy for those people, but it would cost millions of dollars to protect one home in Plymouth, and we just cant afford to do that,” Kanjorski said.
“Its not a perfect system,” he continued, “but it's far more sophisticated today in terms of protection. You have to remember when we got hit with Agnes, there was no Federal Emergency Management Agency. That was something I was very active in creating.”

Others agree:

Mayor, state rep thankful for levees

"I hope that people take a moment tonight and say a prayer and thank the Lord that that dike held," State Rep Eddie Day Pashinski said. "Those of you that experienced 1972 know what kind of devastation we experienced in Wilkes-Barre and throughout the entire valley. Ladies and gentlemen, we dodged a major bullet."
But that never happened, thanks in part to former U.S. Rep. Paul E. Kanjorski's work to raise the levee system in the Wyoming Valley, Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tom Leighton said.

"Without his hard work in Washington over the years, this valley would have been ruined."

If you want to help out Michelle put up a great post over at NEPA Blogs:

This has so much good information I'm going to repost it. I'm sure she won't mind. To click on the links go over to NEPA Blogs.

Giving Help
Many of us in the area have been fortunate enough to not be affected by the September floods, but others did not fair so well. The whole basis of NEPA Blogs is to talk about blogging and people from the area, but we would not be doing the community a service if we didn't help out in this time of extreme need.

Here are ways that you can help:

Entercom Communications is holding a cleaning supply drive for the victims of the flooding. You can drop off supplies at either the Wilkes-Barre Twp. Wal-Mart or the one in Taylor. Help them fill the trailer. More details here:

The American Red Cross's Facebook Page states that "Over 4,000 people spent last night in Red Cross shelters in NY & PA." You can donate to the Red Cross's efforts by texting REDCROSS to 90999. I believe the 10 dollar donation will be tacked on to your monthly cell phone bill.

The Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce has setup a recovery website where you can give help/get help or find information about the recovery efforts. Wilkes-Barre City has a similar website setup here.

The HelpLine of NEPA is always a valuable resource for assistance for crisis situations. They are on Twitter and Facebook and also have a website:


From Wyoming Valley Flood 2011 Facebook Page:

The Cross Valley Federal Credit Union, starting on Monday, all of our branch locations will be accepting donations of cleaning supplies for the American Red Cross. We will also have donation canisters out for those wishing to make a monetary donation to Red Cross. Any support is greatly appreciated! We have locations in Wilkes Barre, Dallas, Forty Fort, Mt Top and Hazleton. For a specific listing of all of our locations you can also visit It doesn't matter where we donate - as long as we do. :0) This Valley is capable of doing amazing things!!! Our hearts go out to all those affected.

The West Pittston Public Library is in need of volunteers to assist with their clean-up effort. From what I understand, they started working on the efforts again today (9/11) at 10am. You can offer your services via their Facebook Page: West Pittston Library.

The Hunlock Creek Fire Hall is now a drop off site for cleaning supplies for all of those affected by flooding. If you want to donate, please drop off at the hall....(editors note: however, I do not have specific dates or times that they will be open.) They are specifically requesting the following items: disinfectants (clorox, lysol, etc.), mops, brooms, gloves, buckets, etc.

Excelsior Hose Company in Duryea is collecting cleaning supplies, clothing and anything else you can think of donating to the flood victims of lower Duryea. THere are some who have lost everything unexpectedly, since the forecast was not for the Lackawanna River to flood. (Editor's note: I do not have any specific dates or times for these collections)

Duryea Update: Anyone who has spare cleaning supplies, clothing, basically anything that can be of assistance to flood victims who reside in the lower section of Duryea and is willing to donate them, please bring the items to the VFW on Stephenson Street in Duryea. They are also accepting monetary donations. They will be on site at this location until 11pm.

TradeMark Realty Group will be collecting any donations like cleaning products, clothing etc. or just anything you could spare and give it to Red-cross or local churches for distribution.
 Our office will be open everyday 9am -5pm and will be available for chat through our website if you have questions.

Servpro of Hanover Township has crews out in full force helping people get their lives, homes and businesses back to normal. If you are in need of water damage cleanup and restoration services, our office available 24/7 at (570)-822-4700. Via Their Facebook Page.

West Side All Starz will be a drop off area for donated clothing, blankets, pillows, non perishable foods, bottles of water and cleaning supplies for those who have lost their homes and belongings in the flood. Items can be dropped off starting today 11am-10pm at 545 Charles Street, Luzerne PA 18709. If you are in need of items please email Tammy at

Cub Scout Pack 100 and Plains Soccer are asking for your donations to help our neighbors who have been affected by the recent flooding. DONATIONS OF non-perishable food, cleaning supplies, bleach, mops, paper products, toiletries, towels, linens and clothing of all sizes. DROP OFF at SCOUT HALL, 13 Stocker St, on Sunday from 5-8 PM, Monday from 6-8PM, and Tues from 6-7PM.

The PA Department of Health will be at the PSTI Headquarters building Sunday at 3pm with their mobile unit giving tetanus shots to emergency responders, who have not a shot in 10 years. Please note: This is ONLY FOR FIRST RESPONDERS.

MedExpress in Edwardsville has Tetanus shots available. Open from 9am to 9pm daily.

West Pittston Fire Department on Spring Street has some supplies available to its residents affected by the flood. They state they have water, gloves, self-heating meals, hand sanitizer & water available.

Attention Wyoming County residents! This information is for you --

Interfaith Friends has a list of available furniture and larger items available for free to those affected by the floods. If you need furniture, baby items, clothes or anything Interfaith Friends has, you may stop by during business hours. ALL items are given at NO CHARGE to anyone affected by the flood. Their contact # 570-836-2428.

The Cub Scout Pack 518 of Tunkhannock are collecting donations to give to flood victims. So far they have clothing, toys, games, paper products, personal care items and backpacks. However, I'm not sure of how to get in touch with them.

P & G has a diaper booth setup in the Tunkhannock Wal-Mart parking lot. They will be there Saturday (9/10) from 6pm to 9pm. They will then be set up Sunday (9/11) through Friday (9/16) from 7am to 7pm.

All information for Wyoming County was found via the American Red Cross of Wyoming County's Facebook page.

Lackawanna County --

Several Red Cross blood drives have been scheduled. There is one today (9/11) at the American Legion Raymond Henry Post 327, 101 Willow Ave, Olyphant from 10am to 3pm. Monday (9/12) at CMC, Mulberry Street, Scranton from 12pm to 4pm. More blood drive information including additional dates and locations can be obtained by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS

Columbia County --

(All information obtained via the Y 106.5 Facebook page)

Free Childcare for residents who were affected by the recent floods in our area and to those who are helping with the clean up efforts. Childcare service provided by Chrissy Van Hoover and Jennifer Devine Arbogast and other childcare providers and volunteers at Wesley United Methodist Church in Selinsgrove from 11:30-5pm Sunday Sept 11th.

Y 106.5 FM is taking American Red Cross Donations now and throughout the weekend at their Sunbury Motors Studios in the Susquehanna Valley Mall. Donate now for your friends, neighbors and community. Their webpage is

Century 21 Mertz and Assoc; 299 Mill Street Danville (next to BJ Ribs) is organizing a collection of items for disbursement to local shelters, the Red Cross and Salvation Army. They are specifically looking for donations of cleaning supplies, canned food, adult & children's clothing as well as monetary donations.

Bloomsburg Fair Association is requesting volunteers. They are in need of volunteers to help with the clean up efforts at the fairgrounds. Flood waters hit the fairgrounds at an all time high. With the fair starting at the end of the month, they don't have much time to recover. The fair is scheduled to being on September 24, 2011. Currently they have no phone service, so please no phone calls. Basically, if you can help, just show up. The fairgrounds are located at 620 West Third Street; Bloomsburg, PA 17815.


Towing Services: Also, LAG will conduct free tows for any vehicles trapped in flooded water or need to be taken to higher ground from the flood areas in coordination with the city. Contact 570-208-4152 to request service. Source, WBRE.

Photography Services: Top of the Mountain Photography by Bridget Banik is offering to take flood damage pictures free of charge to anyone who may have lost their camera/electronics in the flood. You can contact her via her Facebook page or call 570-417-6330. Also, according to the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce's twitter account, Patrick Gensel, freelance photographer and NEPA Blogger is willing to help as well, please contact him through his website at

Pet/Animal Information: Please contact the SPCA of Luzerne County if your has been lost. In Luzerne County, stray animals are taken to the facility when they are found within county boundaries. Contact them at 570-825-4111 and they will take a "lost" report and cross match it with any reports they get of found animals or with animals that have been brought in as strays. More information can be found on their website:

Update ~ There is now a Facebook page for the lost and found pets of the Sept 2011 flood. Click here to view it.

Road Closure Information: Available via 511PA which is updated via PENNDOT.

Health Care Facilities:

Click here to read an updated statement on Wyoming Valley Health Care System facility openings/closures.
Click here to read and updated statement on Geisinger Wyoming Valley's openings/closures.

This is just the beginning of the list, I've read about several dozen smaller communities, churches and businesses taking up collections for the victims. If you know of any, please feel free to post in the comments, or hit us up on Facebook to let us know. I would like to get as much information in this post as possible for the victims and will continue to update as more information becomes available.

Oh and by the way, Harold & I were made administrators of the Wyoming Valley Flood 2011 Facebook page which has grown to 6,547 likes as of this post. It has served as a information portal for questions about evacuations, road closures, and donation collection points, etc., etc., etc. Please feel free to follow it if you are in need of any of that information. We would like to thank Karla Porter for her efforts in creating this page. It has helped several people get the information that they needed in this crisis.

Edited to say: If you are questioning any of the information you are hearing online or otherwise, it is recommended to contact the Luzerne County Rumor control hotline at 800-821-3716.

1 comment:

Dureya, West Pittston, Plains, Harding, Plymouth, Bloomsburg said...

Thank you big wall for causing our disaster