Frank's Photography Site
Wilkes-Barre, PA - Flood photos September 8-10, 2011
When hurricane Irene came through the area, peaking on Sunday, August 28,
it was with heavy driving rain and wind. Northeast PA was spared the bulk of the storm,
which primarily affected the coast, especially NJ, CT, MA, VT and parts of eastern upstate NY.
But then about a week later, Tropical Storm Lee came through with a good 5 days of very heavy rain,
and the Susquehanna River crested at 42.66 feet, an all-time record exceeding Hurricane Agnes in 1972.
The crest was on Friday, September 9. Levees protected Kingston and Wilkes-Barre, but some communities were inundated,
such as parts of West Pittston and Shickshinny. The authorities did their best to keep people away from the river
to do any "sightseeing", but I got a few shots on Thursday and Saturday. To give you an idea, a news article
reported that at the peak, the water was about 8-9 feet higher than the road at the Market Street Bridge (Kingston side).
There were huge floodgates installed on both ends of the bridge which were leaking at the gaskets.
They did hold up, but were butressed up by quite a few truckloads of dirt to help prevent a worst-case scenario.
As a precaution, low-lying areas in Wilkes-Barre were evacuated.
The first set of photos were taken Thursday afternoon, September 8, 2011.
At the peak, the river level was a a good several feet higher than you see here.
A substation near the river in Plains is partially inundated (near the hospital on River Street).
Here are a few views from the adjacent railroad bridge.
Looking north towards the 309 highway bridge (North Cross Valley Expressway)...
...and south towards the North St/Pierce St/Veterans bridge. These both remained open.
Rear of the Sterling Hotel at River & Market Sts., Wilkes-Barre, practically doomed to be demolished.
The floodgates are up on the Market St. bridge, Wilkes-Barre.
Looking back towards center-city from Market & River Sts.
A few views from West South & West River Sts., the closest I could get without being chased by authorities.
Zoomed in towards the Market Street bridge, the water was about 10 feet higher at its peak.
Now down by the Carey Avenue bridge on the south side, the water passed the tree buffer
and is inching up the levee. That bridge, fortunately, stayed open, although except for a short distance,
Route 11 was closed on the Larksville side. Just north of there on Route 11, there is a low-lying shopping center
including a K-Mart and Redner's supermarket. They were heavily damaged, with the water nearly up to the roof.
Now it's Saturday afternoon, and the water had receded about 12 feet from its peak.
These were taken from the Kingston side of the Market Street bridge.
A view from the inside of the flood gate, where the water was about 12 feet higher the day before.
Not sure if these last two were incidental to the storm, but it looks like they had
a few washouts at some of the sewers on the Kingston side near the river.
Please close this window to return to the previous page...