— Some 10,000 people were ordered to evacuate near Binghamton, N.Y., as heavy rains from the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee saw flash flood warnings issued from Maryland to New York early Thursday.
A notice posted on the Broome County website detailed the areas of Binghamton likely to be affected by flooding from the Susquehanna and Chenango rivers.
It urged people to drive to a "safe location." Buses were also being sent to pick up evacuees, who were being taken to Broome County Airport.
"Please remain calm and drive in a safe and orderly fashion," the notice said, adding that anyone unable to evacuate or facing a life-threatening emergency should call 911.
The National Weather Service issued a string of flash flood warnings early Thursday for parts of Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York.
'Move to higher ground'
One issued at 3:29 a.m. ET said the Elk Lake Dam in Susquehanna County, northeast Pennsylvania, was at risk of "imminent failure". It urged people living below the dam to "move to higher ground immediately."
A flash flood warning for parts of Maryland said that "although rain has become light ... a very dangerous situation still exists" in the affected areas.
The warning for New York, due to last until 8:15 a.m. ET, said that flooding "is ongoing and is very severe in many places with numerous evacuations."
"Flooding will continue to worsen overnight as the rain continues. Rainfall totals for Wednesday through early Thursday morning will range from 5 to 12 inches across much of the warning area by 6 a.m.," the warning said.
"Travel will be hazardous through the early morning hours and is not advised except for emergencies," it added.
Tom Moore, lead meteorologist at The Weather Channel, wrote in an update at 8:19 p.m. ET Wednesday that the remnants of Lee would drop some 2 to 5 inches of rain from central Virginia to central New Hampshire through Thursday.
"Record river flooding is already occurring in parts of central Pennsylvania and could spread into southern New York and eastern Pennsylvania tonight (Wednesday) and Thursday," he said.
"This additional rain falling on very wet ground leads to heavy run off that causes major flooding some some rivers and creeks," he added. "Flooding could linger into the weekend in many areas."
The pressconnects.com website, part of the Gannett media company, reported that Broome County's director of emergency services Brett Chellis warned late Wednesday that people should "be prepared for the worst."
"Binghamton is starting to evacuate now," he added, saying 10,000 people were under mandatory evacuation. "People need to be ready to move."
Binghamton Fire Chief Dan Thomas said firefighters were going through streets late Wednesday night and early Thursday morning, telling people to evacuate, pressconnects.com reported.
The website said the Susquehanna River was expected to crest at 25 feet in Binghamton Thursday.