AuSABLE FORKS - The East Branch of the AuSable River has dropped below flood stage, from more than 4 feet above it Thursday afternoon.
The river dropped to 7 feet, which is the flood stage threshold, around 3 a.m. today, and was at 6.5 feet and still falling around 8:30 a.m., according to Greg Hanson, a service hydrologist with the National Weather Service in Burlington, Vt.
The flood warning has been canceled. Hanson said the weekend is expected to be dry, with no more rain until Monday.
State Route 9N between Upper Jay and Keene was closed Thursday due to flooding of the East Branch of the AuSable River. It is open this morning.
(Enterprise photo — Jim Bishop)
The river flooded the towns of Keene and Jay Thursday, rising to more than 11 feet and leading to a major flood warning. However, many roads that were closed Thursday, including major roads such as state Route 9N between Jay and AuSable Forks and state Route 73 through Keene Valley, are open today, according to the Essex County Emergency Services website.
The river rose rapidly in AuSable Forks Thursday afternoon instead of cresting around 2 p.m. as was originally predicted. Church Lane, the road used for the detour from Jay to AuSable Forks, had to be closed around 5:30 p.m.
There was a small downpour in AuSable Forks around 2 p.m., and then the sun came out - but the river continued to get higher.
"The river keeps rising," town of Jay Supervisor Randy Douglas said from Church Lane Thursday afternoon, as crews were putting up sandbags to keep the water at bay. "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.
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.