Press-Republican

January 25, 2013

Ice jams flood Malone

By DENISE A. RAYMO
Press-Republican

---- — MALONE — Four homes were evacuated, and electricity was cut to another three households as the Salmon River flooded Lower Park Street early Thursday.

“Water came over the road about 5 a.m., so we closed down the road to all traffic,” said John Bashaw II, deputy director of Franklin County Emergency Services.

The water covered the street by 3 to 4 inches, “but that’s all it takes,” he said.

Residents from the homes evacuated along the 300 block of Lower Park Street are staying with relatives until the danger passes, Bashaw said.

FATHER FLOODED OUT

One evacuee was farther south — Kenneth Lamica, who lives at 181 Lower Park, next door to his daughter, Shelley Wright, at 175 Lower Park.

“He’s got three or four feet of water in his cellar,” she said of her dad, who is disabled.

“They had to pull his meter, so he’s staying at my place now. My back yard is flooded, and I’ve got a riding lawn mower and a push mower under water.

“The water is about 6 inches from coming into my shed,” Wright said, referring to the small structure

behind her house that contains an assortment of tools and other outdoor equipment.

INSURANCE LIMITED

She purchased flood insurance when she bought the house in October 2011, but her dad has a regular homeowner’s policy not specific flood insurance.

Wright said she reported the initial flooding to authorities on Wednesday, when water first started to threaten her father’s cellar.

Both fear his furnace is ruined now.

“The problem has never been up this far before,” she said of the anchor ice.

FLOODED BASEMENTS

The flood-water flow impacted homes on both the west and east sides of the street, Bashaw said.

“We had a lot of flooded basements,” he said, adding that placing sandbags did little good because the water was coming in too fast.

That’s why the decision was made to cut power to the homes rather than risk injuries or more electrical problems, Bashaw said.

He said an ice jam near Lamica’s house is the source of the trouble, but there are no plans to blast it out or work to break up the problem area.

“There’s really nothing we can do,” Bashaw said. “Mother Nature has to run its course, and we don’t know what else to do.”

FRIGID FORECAST

According to the National Weather Service forecast, a flood watch will remain in effect for the North Country until tonight.

Similar cold weather to what the region has been experiencing is expected to continue during the daytime over the weekend, which won’t help ease the river’s ice blockage.

And bitter cold returns each night.

Temperatures will reach only 5 above zero today, and there is also a 40-percent chance of snow with lows around 11 below by nightfall.

Expect Saturday to be cloudy with a high of 10 and winds around 10 mph, with temperatures about 10 degrees below zero by Saturday night.

Sunday will see a high of 10 and a low of zero, with Monday becoming partly sunny with highs in the mid 20s.

Email Denise A. Raymo: draymo@pressrepublican.com