Press-Republican

April 16, 2014

Rain brings floods

Water levels rise after showers mix with snowmelt

By DENISE RAYMO
Press-Republican

---- — PLATTSBURGH — Emergency-preparedness officials were keeping a close eye on rivers and lakes Tuesday as steady rain helped swell water levels and flooded numerous roads.

A couple of families were evacuated from their homes in the Dickinson/St. Regis Falls area.

And many others, warned to get out through repeated calls from the Reverse 911 communications system, had so far decided to stay put and weather the storm, Franklin County Emergency Services Director Ricky Provost said at about 2 p.m.

“We can’t force them out,” he said.

‘USUAL SUSPECT AREAS’

More than a dozen Franklin County roads were inundated with water on Tuesday, and one — Webster Street Road in the Town of Malone — could be closed for several weeks because of the damage, Provost said.

“We’ve got widespread flooding in the usual suspect areas: Duane, Malone, Fort Covington, Dickinson, over near Ballard Mill,” he said.

“It’s all along the Salmon River corridor.”

A cluster of 4-inch pipes under Studley Hill Road in the Town of Duane was torn up by the volume of water, “but we won’t know how much damage there is until we are able to get in there,” Provost said.

This is the second year in a row that same road has been destroyed by heavy and extended flooding, he said.

CLINTON COUNTY ROADS

As of Tuesday afternoon, five roads were closed in Clinton County due to flooding. 

River Street in the Village of Champlain; Creek Road in the Town of Champlain; River Road and Bowen Road in Saranac; and Bradley Pond Road in Dannemora; were blocked to traffic, according to Eric Day, director of Clinton County Emergency Services.

“Overnight will be the key period because the rivers are pretty swollen right now,” he said.

The water level of Lake Champlain was 99.04 feet as of 1 p.m. Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service website. Flood stage is 100 feet.

On Tuesday, the forecast model for the lake level showed it would reach 100.7 feet by 1 a.m. Friday.

Day said there could be some shoreline damage when the lake reaches 100 feet, but probably not major flooding unless it gets to at least 101 or 102 feet.

In 2011, the lake reached more than 103 feet and serious damage resulted in several communities with flooding that lasted for weeks.

“Hopefully, it won’t get that far this year,” Day said.

RIVERS RISING

Six side roads in Essex County were flooded and closed to traffic on Tuesday.

In Elizabethtown, four roads were blocked by the county due to flooding: Gilligan, Kingdom Dam, Otis and Scriver lanes. These roads are intersected by the Boquet River.

In Keene, Hulls Falls Road was closed due to high water on the East Branch of the Ausable River.

The Gulf Brook behind the closed and now empty former Keene Fire Department was raging, but it was not threatening new flood walls built last year to shore up damage from Tropical Storm Irene.

And in North Elba, near the Lake Placid village line, the River Road was closed from Route 73 to 86 due to inundation on the West Branch of the AuSable River.

Minor flooding along sections Lake Flower Avenue was being reported in the Village of Saranac Lake.

“It’s minor flooding so far,” Essex County Emergency Services Director Donald Jaquish said Tuesday afternoon, “no evacuations, no major problems so far.”

SPRING SNOW

At 2 p.m., Provost was fresh from a conversation with the National Weather Service in Burlington, which advised him that heavy rain would continue until about 7 or 8 p.m. then turn to snow showers that would dump a few inches on the region before midnight.

But until then, “they told us to expect another half-inch of rain before dark,” the director said.

Provost said this is the worst flooding he has seen in the past four or five years, and it seems to be confined to northern Franklin County.

In northern Clinton County, rain turned to sleet in late afternoon then quickly to heavy snow as the temperature dropped.

By early evening it had reached Plattsburgh.

FLOODED ROADS

Numerous roads were affected by high water on Tuesday. Here's the list (closed unless otherwise stated):

CLINTON COUNTY

Town of Saranac: Bowen and River roads. Town of Dannemora/Ellenburg: Bradley Pond Road between Route 374 and Steam Hill Road.

Village of Champlain: River Street. Town of Champlain: Creek Road, Burl Road.

Between Ausable Forks And Jay: Route 9N.

FRANKLIN COUNTY

Village of Malone: College Avenue; Willow Street; Lafayette Street; Howard Avenue.

Town of Duane/Town of Malone: Studley Hill Road. Duane: Cold Brook Road; Red Tavern Road (County Route 14) reduced to one lane.

Town of Malone: Webster Street Road from the Fish and Game Club to Fayetteville Road; Fayette Road (County Route 41), had water on it but was passable.

Bombay: The dirt-covered part of Cotter Road; Cold Springs Road reduced to one lane.

Fort Covington: Drum Street. Hogansburg: Church Street in front of St. Regis Mohawk School; McNeil Road; St. Regis Road; River Street; Gray Road; North Street; Mill Street; Pearl Street; and State Route 37 between house numbers 600 and 700. Bloomingdale: Moose Pond Road.

Brasher: North Road at the Franklin/St. Lawrence county line.

Tupper Lake: Hemlock Ledge, partially washed out.

Saranac Lake: Lake Flower Avenue (minor flooding).

ESSEX COUNTY

Elizabethtown: Gilligan, Kingdom Dam, Otis, Scriver lanes and County Route 8.

Keene: Hulls Falls Road.

North Elba: River Road from route 73 to 86.

Jay: Clark Lane.