LUZERNE COUNTY -- On June 23, 1972, Hurricane Agnes hit northeastern Pennsylvania and lives changed forever. The Susquehanna River raged over its banks breaking through levees and causing widespread flooding, over a $1 billion in damage, and several deaths.
“The flood water was just all over south Wilkes-Barre. It was devastating. It actually seemed like yesterday, you know? That's how much time flies and every time the river gets high you worry about it,” said Bob Steininger of Wilkes-Barre.
Forty-four years later, people walk the levee in Luzerne County on a sunny, dry day along a peaceful river, but they remember that terrible time.
"I just remember it rained for like days and days and days. I remember my father was in the service and going away for a good amount of time for like a year. He was going to be away and our roof collapsed from all the rain,” said Chris Flanagan of Freeland.
"I remember after the flood, people cleaning up. There was like a foot of mud on sidewalks, inside stores, and you know, the floodwaters were just terrible and what it did, and houses just floated down the river, and it was devastating,” said Steininger.
In the 44 years since Agnes, the levee system has been built up. There are floodgates and other controls and folks Newswatch 16 spoke with say they hope that will keep something like Agnes from ever happening again.
“They really built it up and four or five years ago when we had that scare, I guess the dike really did save Wilkes-Barre, so it did work out,” said Dave English of Dallas.