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Flood Concerns in Luzerne County

WEST PITTSTON -- UDPATE: West Pittston Mayor Tom Blaskiewicz announced Thursday morning that the mandatory evacuation will be lifted at 11:00 a.m.

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Hundreds of people in West Pittston forced out of their homes as those ice jams force the Susquehanna River out of its banks.

Crews haven't been able to break apart the massive chunks of ice.

Luzerne County Emergency Managers believe a jam stuck between Pittston and the Eighth Street Bridge in Wyoming are to blame for that flooding.

Some people in West Pittston were forced to leave their homes last night as the river seeped into the streets.

Neighbors were shocked at how quickly conditions changed.

"I was filming the trees cracking and while I was filming the water, it was when the ice broke, and all the water came rushing up, and we literally had to run to our cars to move them out of here. Everyone was peeling out of here," said Devon O'Keefe.

Michelle Witek added, "We didn't really know what was going on, and then as the day went on the water started coming up more towards the houses and it was getting scary because nothing was there, then when the ice jam would break the water would just rush up the street."

Newswatch 16 spoke to several people Thursday morning after they were forced out of their homes Wednesday night.

Many people say this flood reminds them of the one that destroyed so many homes here seven years ago.

"We're just kind of packing things up, emptying the house the best we can. And we had a lot of help which we're very grateful for, and maybe an hour or two they told us we had to evacuate because I think they're shutting the power and the heat and all that stuff off," explained Witek. "You know, just hoping for the best and that we don't get hit again like 2011 for sure, that was a hard time."

The Water Street Bridge is still closed as of 8 a.m. on Thursday. The Fork Jenkins Bridge is back open.

The Eighth Street Bridge never closed.

Parts of West Pittston affected by that flooding are still under a mandatory evacuation Thursday morning.

The Red Cross has set up a shelter at Wyoming Area High School for families who have been evacuated.

With emergency managers saying the ice jam and the flooding are so unpredictable, we do not know when people will be allowed back into their homes.