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Minor Flooding Affects Communities

Storm Drain
Robert Lawton/Wikimedia

Emergency officials were keeping a close watch for flooding this week after steady rainshowers. But as WAMC’s Southern Adirondack Bureau Chief Lucas Willard reports, communities are largely breathing a sigh of relief.

It was a rainy week in New York, with the state and local agencies on alert to combat potential flooding brought on by heavy precipitation forecast for Thursday and Friday.

Troy Deputy Mayor Monica Kurzejeski says this week crews have been out monitoring low-lying areas along the Hudson River.

“April showers, right?” laughed Kurzejeski.

A parking area at the old city hall site downtown was cordoned off just in case, but no major flooding looks to have occurred. A close watch was also being kept in North Troy.

Kurzejeski said Friday if the amount of rainfall originally forecast fell, the city might be in a different position.

Some minor flooding occurred across the river in Waterford, where the Mohawk meets the Hudson.

Out in the Mohawk Valley, the rains swelled the Schoharie Creek, which has seen historic floods in recent years.

Schoharie County Director of Emergency Services Mike Hartzel said some localized flooding occurred earlier in the week but water levels are now falling.

“It was atop of the banks and it went into some of the farmers’ fields. Of course we had that little break Wednesday, which I think really helped us out,” said Hartzel.

At the Gilboa Dam, water levels rose to about a foot from the top Thursday night, but the flow remained below critical stage.

“We did reach out to about 7,500 cubic feet per second, which is not real bad. We don’t really worry ‘til about 10,000 cubic feet per second, that’s when we start looking at opening our emergency operations center because we start to have some roads flood,” said Hartzel.

Montgomery County, along the Mohawk River, also was on alert. Montgomery County Emergency Management Director Jeff Smith said despite some flooding in roadways due to heavy runoff and blocked culverts, overall communities made out well.

“We had some pretty scary moments where the water levels rose to the point where we were concenrned but thankfully the rain stopped when it did. The Mohawk River, the canal did come up over its banks in a couple spots, but no damage reported that I’m aware of,” said Smith.

Smith said among some factors that kept things from getting worse were recent dry, warm days that melted much of the deep snow that fell across the region, though he said there are plenty of spots with snow remaining.

Smith added the locks being kept at winter levels also helped.

“If the locks had been, we had been at summer levels, we would not have been able to get rid of enough water, maybe, to handle everything that came in. So we were lucky in a lot of ways,” said Smith.

Flood watches and warnings were still in effect Friday throughout the region into Saturday.

Lucas Willard is a reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011.