Crest: 40.91 feet
Amount of rain: 4.9 inches over three days: June 22-24, 1972.
Structures affected: approximately 25,000 homes and apartments from Shickshinny to West Pittston, plus 2,728 commercial establishments.
Affected: 20,033 families or about 100,000 people had to evacuate.
Financial toll: More than $1 billion.
In June 1972, a tropical storm, the first of the season, paused in its trip along the East Coast and stalled over Pennsylvania and New York.
Rain poured down all day on June 22, 1972. The downpour continued all night. Water was everywhere.
When the Susquehanna River started to swell ominously, people began to worry.
Officials called for an evacuation of the low-lying areas of the Wyoming Valley at 6 am. Friday, June 23. The warning sirens sounded in Wilkes-Barre at 11:16 a.m.
The efforts of about 10,000 volunteers, sandbagging in an attempt to stem the floodwater, proved futile. The levee broke at the historic Forty Fort cemetery, uprooting burial vaults, caskets and headstones and washing them all over the West Side. It also broke in South Wilkes-Barre at Riverside Drive and Irving Street and around Beade Street in Plymouth.
By Friday, June 23, the Susquehanna River overtopped the four existing levees and swallowed up 48 square miles of the Wyoming Valley.
The river crested at 7 p.m. Saturday, June 24, at a record 40.91 feet.
Three people lost their lives as a result of Agnes: William Shock of Wilkes-Barre, a sandbagging volunteer who drowned when unable to outrun the floodwaters; William Seiwell of Wilkes-Barre, who died during a rescue operation; and National Guardsman Robert Whitman of Johnstown, who suffered a fatal heart attack during a cleanup operation on the West Side.
When the floodwaters started to recede on Sunday, June 25, they revealed a muddy, stinking mess. About 80,000 people were homeless and 11,000 were out of work. Five bridges were damaged or, like the North Street Bridge, destroyed; 38 churches and three synagogues were damaged and a million tons of debris accumulated and couldn't be carted off to a landfill for months.
People in Wilkes-Barre had no power for 13 days, while in other parts of the county, flood victims went without electricity for up to 104 days.
It took years for the Wyoming Valley to recover from Agnes, and the landscape would never be the same again.
It would be 25 years after the "flood of a century" before the levee system would be built up sufficiently to protect Wilkes-Barre and the West Side from another Agnes-level flood.
And, months shy of Agnes' 40th anniversary, she would be upstaged by an upstart named Tropical Storm Lee.
Tropical Storm Lee
Crest: 42.66 feet
Amount of rain: 6.03 inches over five days: Sept. 4-8, 2011
Structures affected: 152 single-family homes, 32 mobile homes and 46 businesses were destroyed; 716 single-family homes, 25 mobile homes and 95 businesses sustained major damage; 529 single family homes and 18 businesses had minor damage, and 1,249 homes and 25 businesses were affected in other ways,
Affected: In Luzerne County, 2,947 people applied for a total of $14.8 million in federal disaster assistance.
While the Lee flood rose 1.75 feet higher than Agnes, the scope of its damage was considerably less, thanks to higher levees protecting the Wyoming Valley. The approximately $200 million levee raising project began in October 1997 and was completed in 2003.
The summer of 2011 was the wettest in recent memory. National Weather Service Spokesman Mike Nadolski said on Sept. 28 that the Wyoming Valley had 49.26 inches of rain to date in 2011, more than 20 inches above the normal rainfall amount of 28.68 for that time of year.
The week of Sept. 4 was particularly wet. The National Weather Service recorded a total of 6.03 inches of rain in Avoca between Sept. 4 and Sept. 8, with the majority - 4.09 inches - on Sept. 6 and 7. The Susquehanna River watershed in upstate New York had even more: 10 and 11 inches in some places.
In the Wyoming Valley, the ground was saturated from previous rainfalls, including Hurricane Irene the week before, and the swollen Susquehanna River steadily rose, from 3.7 feet on Sept. 5 to 4.8 feet on Sept. 6 and then 12.7 by 4:30 p.m. Sept. 7.
But the glitch was that the USGS gauge malfunctioned. It stopped transmitting any information at 11:15 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 8.
"It's a pressure gauge," Luzerne County Flood Protection Director Jim Brozena explained. "When the river got so high that the water was above it, it ceases to work."
The gauge showed the river rising from 38.71 feet at 5:45 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 8 to 38.72 feet at 6 p.m. and then to 38.7 feet at 6:15 p.m. The river then rose to 38.79 feet at 6:30 p.m., according to the gauge, then fell again to 38.63 feet at 7:15 p.m.
Four hours later, the National Weather Service stated the river had crested at 38.63 feet at Wilkes-Barre - almost 2 feet below the projection - but there was no data or evidence to support the claim, due to the broken gauge.
The actual crest was later determined to have been 42.66 feet, and it occurred at 1:02 p.m. Friday, Sept. 9.
This time, the levee held - barely. In almost the same area it broke at Forty Fort in 1972, saturated ground created serious concerns the night of Sept. 8.
Local real estate developer Rob Mericle sent equipment, materials and employees and helped shore up the levee.
The floodwater started to recede on Saturday, Sept. 10, leaving muddy devastation in the riverfront communities not protected by the levee, including Shickshinny, Duryea, West Pittston and parts of Jenkins, Plains and Plymouth townships.

The Levee system that was installed after Agnes, saved the city of Wilkes Barre and my sister's home , which she rebuilt and added a 2nd story to.

The levee barely held and the water reached the very top of it!
 But other areas were affected far worse than they were in 1972, blaming the new levee system.

When Joe had to drive through the beautiful Victorian style town of West Pittston every day to get to his mail route.........

He then understood why I said I would never live in the Flood Plain.

If my home ever sustained flood damage, we might as well build an Arc!!

My sister still lives in the same home and 2 of her 5 children also live in the Flood Plain.

If you would like to read the post I wrote about the September 2011 flooding in my area, please click HERE

Again, my thoughts and my prayers go out to ALL that are being affected by Flooding!!