AuSABLE FORKS - The East Branch of the AuSable River was still rising as of 5:30 p.m. today, shutting down a detour between AuSable Forks and Jay in addition to the main highway, state Route 9N
Church Lane, the road used for the detour through AuSable Acres, was being closed as of 5:30 p.m., said town of Jay Supervisor Randy Douglas, leaving Stickney Bridge Road the only route between the two communities.
Stickney Bridge Road was closed due to flooding Wednesday. Although it was open as of this afternoon, nine other, smaller roads that were closed due to flooding Wednesday were also closed today.
State Route 9N between Upper Jay and Keene is closed today due to flooding of the East Branch of the Ausable River.
(Enterprise photo — Jim Bishop)
Meanwhile, Keene Valley and Lake Placid got some good news, as sections of state Route 73 were reopened.
The East Branch was already at 11.1 feet, 4 feet over flood level, at 1:15 p.m. according to the National Weather Service. Flood warnings were upgraded from "moderate" to "major" this afternoon.
The flooding was originally expected to crest at 2 p.m., Douglas said; instead, there was a small downpour. Then the sun came out, but the river continued to get higher.
"The river keeps rising," Douglas said from Church Lane Thursday afternoon. "It must be snowmelt from the mountain. It hasn't rained. The river just keeps rising. We're getting pounded right now."
Town highway crews, with the help of crews from the towns of Peru and AuSable and inmates from Moriah Shock Incarceration Correctional Facility, were putting up sandbags and spreading fill to make temporary berms, trying to hold the water back. The rising water was threatening Richard and Tammy Bola's Church Lane home, Douglas said.
"We're down here sandbagging their property right now, trying to divert the water," Douglas said.
In downtown AuSable Forks, Douglas said the river had risen right up to the backs of the buildings on Main Street and was entering their basements.
Douglas said the AuSable Valley Central School District had let the town use some fill the district had to help divert the water. He also said the state Department of Transportation had been helpful providing equipment and manpower.
The river rose quickly in Keene Valley Thursday morning, flooding roads, isolating people and damaging homes and farms.
Water surrounded the Ashe family house on Beede Lane in Keene Valley. While family members were able to rescue most of their animals, two of their lambs were washed away in the flood, according to Lake Placid News correspondent Naj Wikoff, who lives in that neighborhood.
Rivermede Farm owner Rob Hastings showed up to help and told Wikoff the flood washed away the storage tanks for his farm's maple works, plus some of its maple equipment, a costly business loss.
Wikoff also reported extensive flooding in Keene Valley's business district this morning. State Route 73 in Keene Valley was closed for much of the day, but had been reopened by Thursday evening, according to state police in Ray Brook.
Managing Editor Peter Crowley contributed to this report.