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‘We dodged a huge bullet’ – EMA Officials Relieved as River Levels Begin to Fall

WILKES-BARRE -- Luzerne County emergency officials expressed relief Thursday morning as ice jams on the Susquehanna River broke up overnight and water levels began to fall.

"We dodged a huge bullet," said Lucy Morgan, Luzerne County EMA Director at a news conference in Wilkes-Barre Thursday morning.

People who live along the Susquehanna River in West Pittston are free to return to their homes Thursday afternoon.

Luzerne County emergency management officials say the threat of flooding is over now and that the water levels in the Susquehanna River will drop over the next day.

People who live near the Susquehanna River in Luzerne County can breathe a sigh of relief.

The massive ice jam causing the threat of severe flooding in the West Pittston area is now clear.

"We will continue to monitor the river for any future problems," said Morgan. "We are so thankful. We can't thank all the municipalities enough for their continued support "

"A mess, just a mess," said Chester Kaspriski of Hughestown. "I feel sorry for the people that got flooded and everything."

Many people flocked to the banks to check out the change in the river's condition. There's a huge difference, the water flowing and much of the ice gone.

"I was just on my way home from picking up some coal so I figured I would stop and take some pictures," Kaspriski said.

Hundreds of people were forced from their homes several roads and bridges were also closed.

Thomas Landscape Management helped clear ice from roads near the Water Street Bridge.

"It is crazy because this is something that was unexpected. Nobody was seeing it being overflowed, the river. It's tough," said Kathy Thomas, Thomas Landscape Management.

The company located in West Pittston offered their services to the borough for free.

"We just said, 'listen, if you guys need our help, we're here for you.' They gave us a call and we're here," Thomas said.

The steady flow of the river has carried the ice that was jamming it downstream. Emergency managers do not anticipate any further issues from it.

"We're in constant communication with the municipalities down there and we make them aware of the situation," Morgan explained. "River patrol will continue and we watch it, not just in this event, but all the time, to be vigilant and to just keep an eye out on their surroundings."

The command center and the shelters set up because of this flooding will be shut down soon.

Red Cross officials said they are in the process of shutting down their emergency shelters at several locations in Luzerne County.

Emergency management in West Pittston lifted the mandatory evacuation orders that were put in place Wednesday as the river began to rise.

Check river and stream levels here.

Get the latest flood watches and warnings here.



  • Ben

    Job well done Lucy and all of the EMA. It was a long day and I know you were ready to deal any critical issues if the were to arise.

    • Issue, what issue?

      A critical issue DID arise and it WASN’T seen to. That’s ok Ben, just look the other way like everybody else in that crumbhole does. No wonder everybody is moving away from your area!

  • Grumpy old man

    I hope the folks of Luzerne county never have to rely on these jokers if something really bad happens in the Wyoming valley! (Other than illegal immigrants and the NYC influxing)

  • Make Me Safe

    People in Luzerne county did not “dodge a bullet.” They were spared flooding and not too soon no thanks to officials and their hesitancy to act. wtg

  • Poor leadership

    Ok Luzerne county, you commanding/directing officials “dodged a huge bullet” this time, not the citizens. Next time, be proactive about a situation and don’t let it get this far out of control. Blast the ice with explosives or something. Don’t just sit around and watch it jam up and flood homes.

    • Go Eagles!

      So it’s Luzerne County and EMA’s fault that nobody down there has enough gray matter between their ears to think that the 2 inches of rain and warm weather is going to cause this?? They have to be told by the county duh we might flood, get out? lol. Never flooded before? lol!! Wow. I’m glad I live on the mountain in Pike county. Cheers, happy bashing of your officials.

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