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Six Months After The Flood

Frank Wathley looks over the waters of the Kaaterskill Creek near his home in Catskill.
..:: WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas ::..
Frank Wathley looks over the waters of the Kaaterskill Creek near his home in Catskill.

By Dave Lucas


Catskill, NY – Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee caused an overwhelming amount of destruction throughout the Northeast. It's now been six months since the flooding displaced hundreds, and washed out roads and crops. Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas spoke with residents who are in the process of rebuilding and replanting...

In late September, Governor Andrew Cuomo visited J. Glebocki Farms in Goshen, one of the many upstate New York farms that sustained heavy damage during flooding caused by the storms Irene and Lee. Farmer John Glebocki explains its been a waiting game for financial assistance. He says the farm finished off the season as best it could. He has yet to collect any checks from crop insurance. He's also applied for a 10-thousand dollar grant matching program to help pay for supplies and is waiting to hear back.

When Hurricane Irene struck the Hudson Valley, the media rushed to cover the story from a "devastation angle" --- Michael Koegel runs Mama's Boy Cafe in the Ulster County hamlet of Phoenicia - he contacted WAMC in September, in efforts to get the word out that, contrary to reports by The New York Times and WABC-TV, his little town was NOT "swept away" - and six months later, the town has bounced back. Koegel notes that the Bridge Street bridge over the Esopus is still standing, but not structurally sound: visitors who could normally have come into Phoenicia via Route 28 have found other routes.

The Route23A bridge over the Kaaterskill Creek in Town of Catskill was one of the first bridges taken out by floodwaters ... I toured the devastated village in August along with federal and local officials and first responders for a briefing on flood damage across Greene County.

One of the people I met on the muddied streets was Tanya Walsh, who lost her home and the family business: her husband was alone in their home asleep when floodwaters hit. While it wasn't too difficult to catch up with John Glebocki and Michael Koegel, my mission to re-connect with Tanya Walsh was not to be - - - Frank Wathley lives fairly close to some of the hardest hit areas in Catskill - his house a stone's throw from that Route 32A bridge, where the muddied waters of the Kaaterskill rage on. Wathley says it was just luck that no one was injured or died when the bridge gave way - he explained many locals left, never to return - he took me for a drive by several abandoned homes - as we drove on, Frank spotted what he believes to be Tanya's house.

Everyone I was able to follow up with agrees with Governor Andrew Cuomo, who remarked during his January State of the State address - quote - "One hundred year floods happen every two years now, so something is going on."

New York will receive more than $93 million in aid for communities hard hit by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. According to the Governor's office, the money comes from $400 million in disaster relief block grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development recently approved by Congress.