Friday, July 3, 2009
RECORD BREAKING RAINS HIT COHOES & WATERFORD
WATERFORD — Mary Ann Martel watched as firefighters paddled her mother, Helen, and black Labrador, Jade, to safety in a rowboat from their house on Fonda Road Wednesday evening when water levels in the front yard and driveway reached about 3 feet deep.
Their neighbors across the street also had to evacuate their home and another resident’s car was completely submerged in the flood, said Martel.
“It was a complete washout. The water was up to the firefighters’ waists, which is why they had to use a rowboat,” she said. “I’ve lived here 47 years. We’ve never dealt with something this bad.”
Fonda Road, a main access route to the town’s suburbs, was completely flooded. County crews were there Thursday to clear out the culverts along the road.
Martel’s home suffered some water damage but no structural damage, she said.
“It’s not too bad. It would just be nice if it would just stop raining,” she added.
The National Weather Service said the airport received a record 2.76 inches of rain for July 1 which blew away the record set in 2005 of 1.52 inches.
Cohoes, one of the hardest hit municipalities, had rain measurements ranging from 3.2 inches to 3.47 inches, collected in about three hours, from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. For comparison, a normal summer shower might have about a quarter inch of rain, said meteorologist Hugh Johnson.
He added that Washington County also had a lot of rain and Schoharie County was still getting large amounts of rain Thursday.
Lansing Pool in Cohoes, which was looking very murky the day after the torrent, has been closed due to it being flooded with muddy water and mulce that ran down the hillside, the city announced Thursday.
The area surrounding the pool had water levels near 3 feet, said Mayor John McDonald.
“We’ve never had to deal with this magnitude of flooding in the city,” he said, adding that the pool would need to be drained to assess the total damage. This could take about a week, so the pool will be closed for July 4th. The pool just opened for the season on Monday.
The city has been taking calls, noting names and contact information, from residents with damaged property. Officials and city employees are in the process of trying to secure state and federal funding to help residents with repairs.
“We have identified a few programs which will likely help people with low to moderate incomes and with no insurance. But, we are still encouraging those with insurance to apply,” said McDonald.
Unlike many of his neighbors, Dale Johnson of Third Street on Van Schaick Island said his insurance will cover the flood damage. His basement had about half foot of water in it and that was with a sump pump and wet/dry vacuum being used as the water was flowing in.
“The toilet in our basement had water coming out of it like a geyser and the water outside was flowing on the streets like a river,” he said.
Meanwhile, a home on Truman Way in Cohoes was struck by lightning. Luckily, according to city officials, there was little damage and no one was hurt.
In Watervliet, houses on Hillside Drive and 12th Avenue experienced some flooding, said general manager Mark Gleason, adding that the city was taking precautions in known flood “hot spots” to try to prevent further flood damage.
Since June 9, the first day in June with measurable rain, it has rained measurable precipitation 17 days. We are still below last year’s rainfall, said Johnson.
“But, we are catching up, considering we were far below normal at the end of April,” he said.
The holiday weekend forecast seems to be drier but also with below average temperatures.
“At this point, we should take what we can get with the weather,” said Johnson.