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Storm causes flash floods, outages

Flash flooding hits Route 11 in Plymouth Twp. and Kingston streets. More than 2,000 lose power.

The Wilkes-Barre Fire Department investigates a roof blown off a building along North Pennsylvania Avenue on Tuesday night. Debris was left hanging on power lines (middle telephone pole) and scattered across North Pennsylvania Avenue. Street and traffic lights were reportedly out in a grid area of Wilkes-Barre.

PETE G. WILCOX/THE TIMES LEADER

A man checks out the Susquehanna River from the edge of the fishing pier Tuesday. The river is expected to reach 21.2 feet Thursday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service.

AIMEE Dilger/The times leader

If it’s not snow, then it’s rain staving off outdoor activities.

Heavy wind and rains blasted Luzerne County as a severe storm moved through the region Tuesday night, causing several flash floods and knocking out power to more than 2,000 homes and buildings.

PPL Electric Utilities said debris colliding with a power line caused 2,147 customers in the county to lose power at approximately 8:40 p.m., including more than 1,800 in Wilkes-Barre and Plains Township. Wilkes-Barre firefighters worked to clear debris from a roof that blew from a building and landed on power lines on North Pennsylvania Avenue. Street and traffic lights were reportedly out in the city in a grid between Maple Street and North Street and North River Street and Wilkes-Barre Boulevard.

A PPL spokesperson said power had been restored by 9:30 p.m.

Street flooding was also reported on Second Avenue, Third Avenue, Tioga Avenue and Chester Street in Kingston, as well as on Route 11 near Custom Garage in Plymouth Township.

Severe thunderstorm and flood watches were issued for Luzerne County on Tuesday in expectation of a strong storm.

“Any thunderstorm has potential to cause flash and urban flooding and this event into tonight is no exception,” said Alex Sosnowski, accuweather.com expert senior meteorologist. “Flooding is also a concern into Wednesday morning from the steadier rain that will expand from Northeastern Pennsylvania to the St. Lawrence Valley (Canada).”

Last week’s weather involved back-to-back days of severe thunderstorms dumping 3 to 5 inches of rain resulting in flash flooding on streams and creeks.

Last week, Huntsville Creek in Jackson Township came close to spilling its banks along Hillside Road, and Hick’s Creek flooded basements in Exeter and West Pittston. Low-lying areas in West Nanticoke were underwater, prompting the closure of Route 11.

The Susquehanna River in Wilkes-Barre is expected to turn upward after several days of falling from a crest of 27 feet on Friday.

According to the National Weather Service in Binghamton, the river is expected to remain below natural flood stage of 22 feet. The river is expected to reach 21.2 feet Thursday afternoon.

PPL Electric Utilities said debris colliding with a power line caused 2,147 customers in the county to lose power at approximately 8:40 p.m., including more than 1,800 in Wilkes-Barre and Plains Township. Wilkes-Barre firefighters worked to clear debris from a roof that blew from a building and landed on power lines on North Pennsylvania Avenue.

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