Two weeks ago, I was preparing for a hurricane and potential flooding in New York City. Which, for me meant making sure I had a couple gallons of water, canned food, candles, and something to occupy my time in case I was stuck at home for a few days with no electricity. I even filled the bathtub in case something happened to the water. (Note: rubber bathtub stoppers don’t seem to be watertight. Next time, I’ll fill up a plastic garbage can) The city was spared, but communities in New Jersey and Connecticut weren’t so lucky.

I decided to visit home for Labor Day weekend, and rented a car from a rental location in a New Jersey town that had been evacuated only 3 days earlier due to flooding. While I was home, I was told the area had taken a soaking from Irene, and there was also some rain coming in from what was left of Tropical Storm Lee. The Susquehanna river, while high, didn’t seem abnormally swollen. Three days after returning to New York, this video was shot from a community upriver from my hometown:

The flooding is the worst since 1972, when Hurricane Agnes combined with another low pressure system and produced heavy rains in the region. I hadn’t been born when Agnes struck, but I heard it referenced so much growing up by the Susquehanna River that the name is synonymous with massive flooding and destruction in my mind.

After Agnes a levee system was built, but some towns still don’t have one.

And towns that have a levee still face big problems. This video shows flooding in my hometown (which has a levee) and sadly the town’s middle school.

A big thanks to WNEP-TV online and The Press Enterprise on Facebook for keeping this transplant informed.

Disaster relief donations can be made to the American Red Cross.

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