Businesses and residents near Susquehanna River prepare for flooding


SHICKSHINNY, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Other communities hit hard during the flooding of 2011 are getting ready for the worst. A lot of people left after the devastation seven years ago. And as Eyewitness News reporter Haley Bianco explains, one more flood could be the last straw for those who remain.

“Let’s get out of here,” said Clem Wido, resident and employee.

A lifelong resident of Shickshinny, Wido, says he’s dealt with more than his fair share of flooding. He works at Martini’s Cafe just feet from the Susquehanna river.

“We’re right at the river! In fact, in 2011 we had 51 inches in this floor,” said Wido.

He tells me that mess took about six weeks to bounce back from. His niece owns the business, and says she’s had it with the flooding.

She’s been working with FEMA and plans to take advantage of the buyout program within the next six months.

Wido says he’s personally had good experience with the program; selling his home on North Main Street just five weeks ago.

“It’s inevitable. It’s going to happen again,” said Wido.

As you look around the borough, you see a lot of for sale signs in the flood zone.

“If this happens again with flooding, there’s nothing going to be left of Shickshinny,” said Walter Miller, an employee in the borough.

Flooding is already happening upstream. Three big factors are contributing to the rising water levels: recent rainfall and melting snow play a part, as well as ice jams along the river.

Residents downstream in Shickshinny say they don’t want a repeat of the flood of 2011.

“I went to bed and when I got up in the morning, they pulled up in a boat and pulled me out of town,” said Wido.

After that, many people started packing their bags. Those who do remain say if any more people leave…

“It’s going to be a ghost town,” said Miller.

A flood warning remains in effect for all of Luzerne County through tomorrow.

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