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.