On ancient Susquehanna, flooding is fact of life

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Early settlers called the Susquehanna (sus-kwuh-HAN’-uh) River “a mile wide and a foot deep.” That’s not far from the truth ? except when it floods.

Experts say it’s one of the nation’s most flood-prone rivers because it’s so shallow and flows atop bedrock. It’s also the longest in the eastern U.S., and millions live in its flood plain.

Then came the wet summer of 2011, followed by storms Irene and now Lee.

And experts say that’s a perfect recipe for floods.

The Susquehanna’s worst modern flood was after Hurricane Agnes in 1972. Officials say damage topped $14 billion in today’s dollars. Dozens died.