Emergency officials in the northeastern U.S. state of Pennsylvania say water level in the Susquehanna River has begun to drop after cresting to dangerous levels. 

Authorities evacuated up to 200,000 people from the town of Wilkes-Barre and surrounding areas after the Susquehanna rose near the top of protective levees following several days of rain that drenched the eastern United States.

Emergency officials had feared the river would rise high enough to flood the town.  But the Susquehanna has been retreating ever since it crested at 10 meters late Wednesday afternoon.

Communities along the river that are not protected by the levee system remain in danger from flooding. 

The governors of Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, New York and New Jersey have declared a state of emergency in their states.

At least 12 people across the region have died because of the heavy rains and flooding.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.