Press-Republican

June 14, 2013

Officials keep wary eye on rivers

By DENISE A. RAYMO
Press-Republican

---- — MALONE — Franklin County and village officials are monitoring Saranac Lake and Lake Flower as flood waters remain high in those areas.

A state of emergency remains in effect for the entire county, which at its high point Wednesday had closed 28 roads. 

“In the north end of the county, things are receding pretty well,” John Bashaw II, deputy director of County Emergency Services, said Thursday. “There are only seven roads that are closed. The water’s really gone down.”

The roads still closed Thursday were: Ragged Lake Road and Wolf Pond Road in Bellmont; Cotter Road in Bombay; Studley Hill Road, California Road and Ayres Road in Malone; and Duane and Spaulding Road in Bangor, which is reduced to one lane between LaFlesh Road and Baker Road.

“But it’s the southern end where we’re really watching it closely,” Bashaw said. 

SARANAC LAKE WARNING

Water moving through the Village of Saranac Lake has not topped the banks, but it is starting to push into the Dew Drop building that bounds the river off Broadway, according to fire officials.

Village Mayor Clyde Rabideau issued a heads-up, warning of potential flooding in the village.

He said firefighters would begin reverse 911 notifications and delivering door-to-door flyers along Lake Flower Avenue and Duprey streets.

“More water will be released from the (state Department of Environmental Conservation) locks up-river soon and, combined with the swollen tributaries, localized flooding is likely to occur. The village cannot release any more water over or under its (Lake Flower) dam as village buildings downriver are already being flooded (basements) or are about to be.”

Village crews are watching water levels carefully at the dam and under bridges in the village, he said.

SANDBAGS AVAILABLE

Village Manager John Sweeney said Department of Public Works crews have filled sandbags available for people who need them.

Sand bags can be picked up at the Public Works garage at 95 Van Buren Ave., Saranac Lake. Residents will be responsible to dispose of them afterward.

The emergency contact number at the Fire Station is 891-2211.

ROAD DANGER

The National Weather Service issued a hazardous-weather outlook, stating there is a “slight chance of thunderstorms” this afternoon, with short downpours.

The State Department of Transportation is reminding drivers to avoid trying to cross flooded roadways, even if the water appears shallow.

“Water hides dips in the road,” a news release states. “Worse yet, there may be no road at all under the water. Flooding can scour away the entire road surface and a significant amount of ground beneath.

“Two feet of rushing water can sweep away most vehicles, including SUVs and pickups.”

Email Kim Smith Dedam: kdedam@pressrepublican.com