Berlin NY Begins Digging Out From Hurricane Irene Floods

The floods from Hurricane Irene are subsiding in many places except the high mountains in Vermont and NY Catskill and northern tier mountains.  The rivers and streams in my own small town are still at flood level but finally dropping.  Neighbors are coming out to see each other and check out the damage.  The people in the above photo all lost their driveways and can’t drive their cars.  Last night, it was still raining and all roads in and out of Berlin were closed but today, a few are open but certainly, not all at all.  There is still very little traffic on the main road, Route 22 because of floods in the larger rivers above and below our town.  

Here is a photo of some of the small buildings which were swept downstream yesterday and are now lodged in the trees that line the brook.  This is a very small brook, not a river.  Yet, the volume of water yesterday was at river-levels.  Fortunately, no one lost their homes unlike the unfortunate people elsewhere in our state.

There is siding from the trailers up the road where it turns and climbs steeply up the mountain.  If we had 14 inches of rain like in the Catskills, those people would probably lost their homes and maybe even their lives.  I am happy we got only the huge amount of over 7 inches.

There are many people online who imagine the perfect world is one where there is minimum government.  I am most emphatically not of that belief.  I pay taxes and I expect services.  I don’t want to pay taxes to spend trillions trying to control angry Afghanis.  This is stupid.  I want this money spent here, keeping the good citizens of the USA alive and well.  Unlike Ron Paul who believes the entire costs of struggling to survive hurricanes should be borne by the victims, for example.  That cold-blooded lizard mouths off about how independent he and his libertarians are yet, he begs for government money after hurricanes while grand standing about how he doesn’t ask for money (hint: we nice people offer it freely to victims in Texas!).


The county, state and local road crews were all out today, working hard to fix the mess and to reconnect us with the rest of the nation.  This brief bout of total isolation unnerved many people and it shows how slender the threads that tie us all together really are.  And why we need to be united, internally and externally, across the entire nation, not just locally, to run a good,  healthy and strong community.  A strong nation means a strong community!  The costs of this storm would bankrupt my tiny town, wreck the finances of my county and make life hard for my state and if California has the inevitable San Andreas 9.0 event, I fully expect all of us to help there, too.  This is the only sane way to run a nation, run a civilization.  No civilization runs the other way, they disintegrate.

This has been hidden by the US empire since WWI and especially since WWII with all the many tiny nations on earth as well as former empires like Japan, Germany, France, Britain and Spain, all expecting the mighty US to protect and bail them out from military menaces, internal revolts, trade difficulties, banking problems, natural disasters and whatever.  Tiny nations that are proud of being ‘independent’ really are not even slightly independent: they all thrive or exist in the shadow of US generosity and protections. Which is going to collapse because we are running everything in the red.

Just as great floods washed away my local road which runs right past my home, so can events erode the imperial highways of the great US empire.  Ron Paul and his buddies on the right are whining about cutting something so we can fund FEMA.  Ron is correct in saying, we should cut out our many military interventions and bring home our troops.  I agree with him. But…his allies in his own party won’t do this any more than the Democrats, run by AIPAC, will cease the endless wars against Muslims.  We get all the cuts, every last penny of the cuts will come out of our own welfare, our own protection at home, our own lives here in America, not our foreign protections, interventions and agitations.


We will still spend trillions on our empire while cutting life and limb at home.  Ron could turn on his own party and become an independent like Bernie Sanders, a far, far finer man and one I would like to see more.  Sanders will fight for Vermont and fight for national money to flow to the catastrophe there and unlike Ron Paul, won’t pretend that Galveston needed any Federal help at all after a major hurricane.  Senator Sanders is honest, Ron Paul is delusional.


Things are actually getting worse up here, not better.  Unlike the flatlanders along the shorelines where the damage is done, up here it is continuing.  The mountain towns are digging out like my own little hamlet but the waters here are flowing very strong still and even the small stream on my driveway which runs only in spring is still running strong, hours after the rain has stopped due to hydraulic pressure underground.  Hurricane Irene 2011: Upstate New York, Vermont Face Major Flooding



In Windham, for instance, news sources and images linked on the site have depicted a scene of “total destruction,” with most houses in the low-lying parts of town covered to their roofs in water. The town has been “wiped out,” in the words of Windham Fire Chief Michael Scarey, according to the Mid Hudson News.


Commenters on the site have described a rapidly deteriorating situation, with the local emergency services reportedly being completely overwhelmed by the number of people in need.


While talking to my fine neighbors about surviving the floods here, all of them were expressing concern about the people in the Catskills to the south.  They all thought we were barely touched in comparison to those poor people.  This is how humans should work: show concern for people they don’t know.  This is what is seemingly totally missing from libertarian ideology.


We may have dam collapses up here, too!  Evacuations in Schenectady, Troy and possible dam failure in Johnsonville – Times Union

The Hudson River was also rising. Troy issued a voluntary evacuation order for South Troy and Lansingburgh.

The evacuations involve all neighborhoods from Ferry Street to the Troy-Menands Bridge and the riverfront to Fifth Avenue. In Lansingburgh, all neighborhoods from 112th Street to 126th Street from the waterfront to Fourth Avenue were also being evacuated.

Travel out of the Capital Region was difficult.

Amtrak was running no trains out of the station in Rensselaer.

Big chunks of the Thruway remain closed as flooding brought on by Tropical Storm gradually recedes. The highway was closed between Amsterdam and Canajoharie and between Nyack and Harriman.

In Albany, the southbound side of Interstate 787 was closed at the Exit 4A ramp because of flooding.

Power outages remained widespread.

Residents on River Road in Johnsonville were ordered to leave their homes Monday because of fears that the hydroelectric plant dam in Pittstown would burst, Rensselaer County officials said.

The order applies to people living on the Route 67 side of River Road.

“The dam at the hydroelectric plant is in imminent danger of failure,” Deputy County Executive Chris Meyer said.


I hope people in NYC think about all of us here upstate!  This is how true communities work.  They barely got hurt down there and should be quite grateful for being spared and now we all have to work together to save upstate NY and Vermont.  Just as we would pay higher taxes or help send workers down to the shore to save people if a category 3 or 5 hurricane blew in there.  Thank you, all.

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Filed under nature, Politics, weather news

17 responses to “Berlin NY Begins Digging Out From Hurricane Irene Floods

  1. Valarie

    So sorry to hear about the devastation you are experiencing. Glad to see neighbors helping neighbors. I have family that lives on SE Hollow Road and have not been able to reach them by phone. I’m hoping they are just outside cleaning up and have not had time to come to the phone. Does anyone in the area know if there has been significant damage to that road?

  2. Old Ari

    How is it in Ogdensburg?

  3. Before criticizing the Texans for Perry and Ron Paul, you should remember that your own congressman is a Republican, Chris Gibson, who spent 24 years in the Army and retired as a full colonel. However, he’s not extreme enough for some Tea Partiers and has come under some criticism from them.

  4. emsnews

    Southeast Hollow Road seems to be OK, Valarie. Some of the cell phone tower service isn’t working in parts of Berlin so this is probably why you can’t reach them easily.

    The village and county are working rapidly to get people access to crossing washed out rivers and streams. So don’t worry too much!

  5. Dupree

    Senator Sanders is honest, Ron Paul is delusional.

    Ron Paul is on record for getting US troops of the ME and ending the the homicidal wars against Muslims.

    Has Bernie ever gotten on the floor of the Senate and railed against his co-religionists in Tel Aviv?

    No! Bernie doesn’t want to become another Judge “Self-hating Jew” Goldstone.

  6. Dupree

    Bernie Sanders is a serial mugwamper!


    …Upon receiving notice of Sanders vote, I immediately called his office and registered my dismay. Within days, I received a letter from the office wherein Sanders reminded me that he voted against the October 2002 resolution granting GW Bush authority to use whatever force it required to take over Iraq. He wrote that he believes history will prove this to have been the correct vote. Further to his credit, before Sanders cast a yes vote for the most recent resolution, he entered a short speech into the Congressional Record decrying the partisan nature of the resolution. He went on to state further that he did not support the Bush administration’s policies that “led us to where we are today.” After stating his support for the UN inspections regime and reminding the House of the “phenomenon of blow-back,” Sanders attacked the GOP leadership for cutting veteran’s benefits in the same session they voted to create more veterans.

    There seems to be some kind of contradiction here. Sanders may have voted against the budget that cut these veteran’s benefits, but by voting to support Bush’s war (no matter how much he protested it), history will most likely judge him to have sided with that leadership….

  7. Dupree

    From the Urban Dictionary

    mug wamper

    A mug wamper is a person who cannot make up his or her mind on which side of an argument or situation to support so they try to take both sides. They try to sit on the fence and consequently have their mug on one side of the fence and their wamper on the other.

    I want the State to get the money generated from gambling but on the other hand I can’t condone gambling which makes me a mug wamper since I cannot make up my mind which one to choose.

  8. Vengeur

    Mugwamp! LOL. Thirty years ago in Alaska I was a deckhand on a fishing boat named The Mugwamp. Haven’t heard the word since. I was told it was something like a carperbagger or the like.

  9. CK

    To some a Mugwamp is merely indecisive.
    to others, a mugwamp wants to eat their cake and still have it.
    It does amaze me how quickly the FEMA fiascos of Katrina are all forgotten.
    “We’re from the government and we’re here to impede your recovery and enrich our special friends.” I do notice that your locals seem to be handling things awfully well withour a hint of central government control. Having no delusions about the value of thieves in uniform is delusional these days.


    ELAINE: The racists in the GOP had zero interest in saving New Orlean black citizens.

  10. Dupree

    I was told it was something like a carperbagger or the like.~Vengeur

    Mugwamps would be closer to “scalawags” which were turncoat Southerners–mostly the landed gentry whiskeypalian(Episcopalian) slaveowners.

    Carpetbaggers are more like the US government-funded “NGOs” that go into America’s killing fields in Africa and the Middle East after the battlefield dead are hauled away to mass graves, and their former nationalist leaders–Liberia’s Charles Taylor and Serbia’s Milosevic– are imprisoned and sent off to sit in the dock at the Hague.

    …It hit the big time in 1884, during the presidential election that set Grover Cleveland against the Republican James G Blaine. Some Republicans refused to support Blaine, changed sides, and the New York Sun labelled them little mugwumps. Almost overnight, the sense of the word changed to turncoat. Later, it came to mean a politician who either could not or would not make up his mind on some important issue, or who refused to take a stand when he was expected to do so. Hence the old joke that a mugwump is a person sitting on the fence, with his mug on one side and his wump on the other….

  11. Glad to hear you’re OK, Elaine. Wow.

  12. emsnews

    Terrible damage out here. And hard to get anywhere even after several days. Many main highways have only one shoulder open for traffic, the lanes are unusable. In Vermont, most roads are simply gone as well as bridges and the National Guard has to come in.

    And this can’t be rebuilt easily by Vermont alone and NY can’t help, we are in the same boat, we all need the Federal Government for this and I want a functional Federal Government, not a dysfunctional government!

  13. Claire Voyant

    GOP has no interest in a functional government.

    Eric Cantor now wants to cut First Responder budgets in return for “agreeing” to send disaster relief money to areas left devastated by Irene.

    The rightwing are so consumed with getting The Other out of office, they don’t care how many have to die so they can seize power.

    Once in — they run debts to unsustainable levels, run roughshod over the world with insane End Times military adventures and war profiteering, and screw up domesic disaster response with their clueless and incompetent pals running the departments (as during Katrina). With a careless shrug, they then say, “See, we told you that government doesn’t work. Elect us and we’ll show you just how bad government is. Don’t elect us, and we’ll do everything we can to bring the government down, pull apart the infrastructure, sow class hatred, and dismantle our entire society,” Many of their candidates are outright Confederate secessionists who rejoice at the thought of finally destroying the Union.

  14. Dupree

    What is Whiskeypalian, you ask?

  15. CK

    They didn’t do much for NO’s white, hispanic, vietnamese, jewish, catholic, baptist, millenarian, wiccan or Indian citizens either. It was not FEMA racism; it was the to be expected governmental incompetence.
    I notice that you really fall back on the old “I’ll call them racist and thus kill the conversation mode” whenever government incompetence raises its lovely visage.

  16. @Claire Voyant — you have it exactly right. They even caused the blowout that required a banking gnomes’ bailot and a stimulus (itself bollixed because of republibaggers’ demands for more tax cuts) causing debt to skyrocket even more.

    And I think the real reason why they want to destroy the Union is so they can bring back slavery: red, yellow, brown, tan, white and of course, black. And no FEMA camps, either! Unless they’re privatized.

  17. DeVaul

    You know, for all the big talk about how we don’t need a damn government, especially from Texas politicians, I sure would love to be present when the farmers and ranchers from the Lone Star State show up in DC with hat in hand for a government handout after they lose everything in the drought.

    Do you think Ron Paul, Rick Perry, and their other politicians will tell them to stop whining and go back home and “pull themselves up by their bootstraps”?

    I would love to see that. American hypocrisy is truly something awesome to behold.

    I believer New Hampshire is next in line. “Live Free or Die”! Well guess what? You get the latter. Oh, and have a nice day!

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