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Essex County wants state, federal help to rebuild

April 27, 2011
By NATHAN BROWN - Staff Writer ( , Adirondack Daily Enterprise

AuSABLE FORKS - Flood damage throughout Essex County may total in the millions of dollars.

County officials are assessing the damage now, and State Emergency Management Office representatives are on their way. Jay Supervisor Randy Douglas, who is also chairman of the county Board of Supervisors, said Wednesday afternoon has been thousands of dollars worth of property damage in his town, and he anticipates damage in the millions countywide.

Douglas said most of the damage is to infrastructure.

Article Photos

State Route 9N between Jay and AuSable Forks flooded earlier today. It is expected to reopen this afternoon.
(Photo courtesy of the town of Jay)

"Roads are totally washed out and impassable all through Essex County," Douglas said. "Broken water lines in Moriah, broken sewer lines in Moriah. Roads totally demolished in Jay, Chesterfield, Westport, Lewis ... the list goes on and on."

Most of the personal property damage has been in Moriah, which was the hardest hit by the flooding and where a number of families have been displaced. One family had to leave their home in Jay due to flood damage; Douglas said they are staying with friends.

The town of Jay has already declared a state of emergency. Douglas said he has personally reached out to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and hopes that state and federal states of emergency are declared. He said the county needs financial help.

"We've got 10 towns affected in Essex County now," Douglas said. "I don't know how we're going to pay for it."

This is the second such disaster to befall the area in two months - in March, a series of ice jams on the AuSable River led it to overflow its banks, impacting about a dozen homes in Jay.

State Route 9N between Jay and AuSable Forks was closed earlier due to flooding, leaving the only safe route between the two hamlets through AuSable Acres. Douglas said around 1:30 p.m. that state Department of Transportation officials were looking at it, and it would likely be reopened within the half-hour.

The Wilmington Notch Road, a section of state Route 86 between Lake Placid and Wilmington, has also been reopened. A state trooper there told the Lake Placid News this morning that there was concern the road may have been damaged by flooding. River Road in the town of North Elba was still submerged Wednesday afternoon, according to state police.

In Jay, Clark Road, Carey Road, Bartlett Farm Road, Straight Road, Nugent Road, Lincoln Hill, Hasseltine Road, Jay Mountain Road, Stone House Road and Stickney Bridge Road were closed due to flooding, town officials said earlier today.

The county Emergency Services office says Hulls Falls Road, Lacy Road, Alstead Hill Lane, Holt Road, Hurricane Road and Leslie Gay Lane in the town of Keene are closed due to flooding.

Additional road closures have also been reported in the towns of Essex, North Hudson, Lewis, Wilmington, Westport, Schroon, Willsboro and Elizabethtown, including U.S. Route 9 between routes 9 and 73 in Elizabethtown.

Douglas said the towns of Chesterfield, Moriah and Jay have already requested the help of state prison inmates to help put up sandbags, and he said he expects more towns to request it. The Clinton County towns of Peru and AuSable have also been helping Jay highway crews, Douglas said.

Severe thunderstorms dumped more than 2.5 inches of rain across the eastern Adirondacks Tuesday night, according to the Associated Press. More rain has been forecast for today and Thursday, although it hadn't yet fallen by early afternoon.

"If we get more rain, (and) the forecast is saying more rain, we're in trouble," Douglas said.



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