TUPPER LAKE - Officials say they're worried this week's forecasted rain could make flooding even worse in areas already experiencing water damage.
Village Mayor Desmarais said that when Tupper Lake officials signed an order declaring a state of emergency on Friday, it was a minor inconvenience done to get reimbursement funds. Then things got worse.
"Now we've got major disasters here," he said. "Now we've got real concerns, because it's supposed to rain this week."
Brittany Richards and Tim Coventry wade through water on Demars Boulevard in Tupper Lake Sunday. Despite two days of sun, several waters in Tupper Lake remain at flood level as of today.
(Enterprise photo — Mike Lynch)
He said the sunny, warm weekend was deceptive, and people don't realize the kind of damage that's been occurring from high waters in low-lying land areas.
Emergency personnel had to move about 40 people out of their homes over the weekend, mostly in the River Road area, Desmarais said.
"The water is so high, they've got to take boats to the house," Desmarais said.
Village and town Emergency Manager Carl Steffen said he believes about 40 to 50 homes have been evacuated in total so far.
There is space at the Knights of Columbus hall and the former Holy Ghost Academy, as well as at one local motel, if people need emergency shelter, but so far no one has needed it, Steffen said. He guessed people are staying with friends and family instead.
Electric crews have been disconnecting power to houses that are flooded, Desmarais said.
Desmarais said a number of people worked straight through the weekend to help people, from the village fire department to state and village police, from Franklin County Emergency Services personnel to state Department of Environmental Conservation workers.
"It's teamwork," Desmarais said. "Everybody's been here helping out."
A command post has been set up at the village offices. Anyone needing help should call 359-3341.
Parts of Demars Boulevard remain closed today, but crews managed to open up an area in the middle so people could get to Save-a-Lot and Kinney Drugs in case they need supplies or medications, and to the town hall.
River Road, Water Street and part of Cedar Street were also closed.
Steffen said Gull Pond is closed because the road there is completely flooded. Houses are "high and dry," he said, but people are having trouble getting through, so town of Piercefield crews are transporting people back and forth with high trucks.
There is no boil water order, Desmarais said. As long as people are on municipal water, they should be fine.
People started calling village offices after emergency officials suggested this weekend that people with wells should be treating their water before drinking it. But the village's facilities are working, and even though the water plant on Water Street is under water, it's still operating fine, Desmarais said.
Desmarais said the command post was also getting a lot of questions about dams in the area because there were rumors that they were about to break. But he said that to his knowledge the dams are all holding steady and there aren't any concerns yet.
On Sunday, village officials issued an emergency order banning people from using boats in flooded sections of the village.
"Flood waters carry dangerous contaminants from septic tanks, gasoline tanks and other hazardous materials that can be a risk to personal health," the order reads.
It was also put in place protect emergency officials attempting to rescue people and perform health and welfare checks.
According to the order, it will also help prevent potential trespassing and damage to the homes of evacuees.
State Route 30 was reopened Sunday in Long Lake near the Adirondack Hotel as flooding there has receded, according to state police at their Ray Brook headquarters.
Contact Jessica Collier at 891-2600 ext. 25 or firstname.lastname@example.org.