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Essex County wants state, federal help to rebuild

April 28, 2011
By NATHAN BROWN - Staff Writer ( , Adirondack Daily Enterprise

AuSABLE FORKS - Essex County wants state and federal help to cope with millions of dollars in flood damage.

Most of the damage was to infrastructure, Board of Supervisors Chairman Randy Douglas of Jay said Wednesday afternoon.

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

Article Photos

State Route 9N between Jay and AuSable Forks flooded Wednesday. It reopened Wednesday afternoon but closed again this morning.
(Photo courtesy of the town of Jay)

Preliminary estimates show more than $1.5 million in damage to county-owned infrastructure alone, he wrote in an email to supervisors Wednesday.

The town of Jay declared a state of emergency Wednesday. 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 in Jay in two months. In March, a series of ice jams led the AuSable River to overflow its banks, flooding about a dozen homes in the town.

The state's threshold to declare a state of emergency is $2 million in damage. Douglas advised his fellow supervisors to document all storm-related costs, saying there is a good chance the county could reach $2 million.

Douglas wrote that supervisors will discuss, at Monday's board meeting, how to pay for the storm damages, either through bonds or money in contingency.

Severe thunderstorms dumped more than 2.5 inches of rain across the eastern Adirondacks Tuesday night. A quarter-inch to a half-inch of rain is expected through this afternoon, and the entire area is under flood warnings.

Most of the personal property damage has been in Moriah, which was hit hardest by the flooding.

In Jay, the Freeburn family had to leave their home near the covered bridge due to flood damage; Douglas said they are staying with friends.

Many roads throughout the county were closed at some point Wednesday, including a few main ones such as state Route 9N between Jay and AuSable Forks and part of state Route 86 in the Wilmington Notch between Wilmington and Lake Placid.

Route 9N was reopened Wednesday afternoon but closed again this morning. State Route 73 in Keene was closed this morning due to water on the road; state police in Ray Brook said this morning that several small roads in Wilmington and U.S. Route 9 between Elizabethtown and New Russia were still closed.

Less than a tenth of an inch of rain is expected tonight, according to the National Weather Service in Burlington, Vt. Less than a tenth of an inch is also expected Friday and Friday night.



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