Some people are assuming that Hurricane Irene was no big deal. Well, it is a HUGE deal here in the mountains of upstate New York, the Berkshire mountains of Massachusetts and Vermont! My small town of Berlin is now utterly and totally isolated from the rest of the world due to flooding. And it is still pouring rain as I write this story. Everything is shut down, the only way out is via horse and my old horse, Sparky, died last year so I can’t get out except if I hike out. Here are some pictures I took all of which are within 2 miles of my home. I couldn’t go further even with my jeep.
The above photo is Plank Road. My own home is on Greenhollow Road which is Plank Road after it crosses Route 22. So this big flood here in the photo is just on the other side of the main highway here. The mountain here is very steep even though the photo doesn’t show this adequately. The pipes strewn all over are quite large. They used to be the side drainage pipes on the non-stream side of the road which is for normal runoff. The main stream is way over its steep banks and all of the streams running off of the Rensselaer Plateau are flooding heavily and all of them cross Rt. 22, the main north/south road out of our town.
In places, the road is less than one lane wide, mostly only one shoulder and just an hour ago, it was shut entirely just north of my home.
You can see part of a tree washed onto the road. A few hours ago, it was totally closed due to the water rushing right over.
They can walk across the bridge if they are very careful but driving is dangerous. Since the stream is running around the bridge as well as over it, the bridge structure is being rapidly undermined. The more hours this goes on, the more likely the bridge will be wrecked or at least, not passable for cars, until repaired and out here, this can take months. We have had many floods this last year. So the bridge building efforts have been exhausting.
A Greene County Sheriff’s dispatcher said rescue crews were making their way toward Moore’s Motel and Resort in the small town of Prattsville, about 150 miles north of New York City…The dispatcher said crews were unable to get fire trucks into the area because of the flooding but would try to reach the motel using boats…A woman at a nearby emergency shelter said the entire town of Prattsville was flooded but had no further information on the motel or its occupants.
This small town of Prattsville is below a big reservoir that feeds NYC’s huge water appetite. Many of the towns and valleys north of Manhattan host such dams designed to funnel water to one of the world’s biggest cities. This dam might fail and if it does, many people downstream could drown. Even with the dams holding…barely…people are now underwater and need to be rescued.
Those trapped are concerned an already overflowing dam located near the motel will break, MyFoxNy.com reported. The New York Power Authority Sunday declared a Type B situation at the Gilboa Dam in Montgomery County, New York.
This is very, very serious. People forget that one of the biggest killers in hurricanes are not the tidal surges and winds on the coast but flooding in nearby mountains. Hurricane Camille killed probably more people in the mountains of Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia than on the Gulf Coast! Hurricane Mitch, while a mere tropical storm, killed 22,000+people when floods poured out of the mountains of Central America.
We are already seeing mudslides close the Thruway to NYC and knocking down buildings in say, Troy, NY. Thruway closures in Hudson Valley up to Albany—Southbound lanes of the New York State Thruway are closed for 137 miles from Exit 24 in Albany to Exit 12 at West Nyack. This seldom happens except in blizzards. If this were winter, we would be buried in over 6 feet of snow so I am glad it is summer.
P.O. BOX 483
BERLIN, NY 12022
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