Not yet dried out from floods caused by Hurricane Irene, New Jersey and New Jersey were hit Thursday with a new round of rain that washed over roads, raised rivers and threatened to bring more high water to some areas hardest hit by the hurricane 10 days ago.
The remnants of Tropical Storm Lee were to blame for the latest deluge, pouring down on ground already so saturated the water had no place to go except where it was not wanted.
In Binghamton, N.Y., a city of about 45,000, the Susquehanna poured into the streets and climbed halfway up lampposts at a downtown plaza. Buses and then boats were used to evacuate residents, and National Guard helicopters were on standby.
Road closures effectively sealed Binghamton off to outside traffic as emergency responders scrambled to evacuate holdouts who didn't heed warnings to leave.
"It's going to get worse," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said, warning people to leave when they get the order.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said the flooding had forced 162 road closures by Thursday afternoon, and he expected the number to rise. He implored drivers to be careful not to drive through water. Many state workers in Trenton, where the Delaware River was out of its banks, went home early.
Christie told mayors the state will provide $7.5 million in grants to help pay for some of the costs of cleaning up after Hurricane Irene, and he's sending a letter to President Barack Obama asking that the state's disaster declaration be extended to cover the latest flooding.
Rain totals by Thursday morning were over 8 inches in Morris County's Middle Valley and other northern New Jersey communities. Forecasters predicted the rain would continue into Friday.
In Paterson, a shelter was still open from Irene and about 75 people were still there. More could join them as the Passaic River rises.
The Passaic is still forecast to crest at major flood levels on Friday.
Passaic County Freeholder Ed O'Connell said no mandatory evacuations had been issued, but some neighborhoods were starting to empty out and communities were getting ready to open shelters.
O'Connell said that when the Passaic crests, conditions would be similar to the flooding of the past 18 months but not as bad as the latest inundation late last month.
The heaviest of the rain is over for most of the region, with a few scattered showers and brief downpours still possible.
Friday promises to see less of a chance for showers with maybe even some sun peeking through the clouds for a time and temperatures warming close to 80.
There will still be the chance for showers this weekend, more likely on Saturday.
Hurricane Katia has made its turn to the north and will remain at sea while stirring up some high surf and rip currents no significant weather impact is expected from the storm.
Tropical Storm Maria is still well out over the Atlantic but early indications at this time are that the storm will pass out to our east as well.
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