Wilkes-Barre officials prepare for potential flooding

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WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — You may be dreaming of a white Christmas, but it’s shaping up to be a wet one, and it could cause problems.

Nearly every county in northeastern and central Pennsylvania is under a flood watch. The area near Solomon Creek has a history of flooding, including during the conditions that are forecasted over the next day or so.

City leaders say they are taking a very aggressive approach to the threat. Neighbors here tell Eyewitness News they are holding their breath.

“Well, just want to know if it’s going to come over the crick like usual. Depends on how much rain and how much this snow’s gonna melt,” Garry Ferris said.

Ferris has been there done that when it comes to flooding. He lives near Solomon Creek. He’s a little less concerned this time around because a new flood control project was just completed in this neighborhood.

“Since the new project we really never had anything like that going to come,” Ferris said.

“We are going to take precautions. We feel as of right now the river may not be an issue for us. We are looking at areas where there’s been high water areas in the past,” Wilkes-Barre Mayor George Brown said.

Such as in South Wilkes-Barre near Solomon Creek.

“What we are doing at Solomon Creek we’ve removed some of the vehicles in that area so we can start installing the flood gates,” Mayor Brown said.

Wilkes-Barre Mayor Brown and Fire Chief Jay Delaney say the city is not taking any chances. Better safe than sorry. Flood gates are already closed near the Susquehanna River.

“It all starts with surveillance and our discussions with the National Weather Service to get some scientific information about what may or may not happen with this storm,” Chief Delaney said.

Again city officials don’t expect any issues with the Susquehanna River because the levee system protects the city up to 44 feet. The river is expected to crest at around 28 feet late Friday.

Now that river level could cause flooding in low lying areas, including West Pittston, which is not protected by a levee. Eyewitness News will have more on preparations in West Pittston in a live report on Eyewitness News at 6.

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