LAKE PLACID - This community is scrambling to clean up downed trees and other debris after a thunderstorm that struck five days before Sunday's Ironman triathlon.
Tuesday evening's storm damaged the roof of the village of Lake Placid's Water Filtration Plant, and homeowners throughout the community were in their yards on Wednesday surveying the damage caused by heavy rain and high wind.
The village's drinking water comes from Lake Placid, and the equipment in the filtration plant filters the water, treats it and pumps it to a nearby reservoir.
Lake Placid village Mayor Craig Randall points out damage caused by downed trees at the village’s water filtration plant.
(Enterprise photo — Chris Morris)
"The six or eight massive white pine trees that (fell) over, they look to me to be first-growth pine," village Mayor Craig Randall said. "They're gorgeous tree trunks. Unfortunately, they don't look so nice when they're sitting on top of your building."
A good deal of debris had been cleared from the facility's roof by late morning Wednesday. Workers used leaf blowers to get rid of the smaller branches.
Randall said electronic equipment inside the building wasn't damaged. He said he expects workers to finish securing the building with temporary repairs by today.
The village's insurance carrier has given it the go-ahead to make emergency repairs, although it's too soon to say how much those repairs will cost. Titan Roofing is already fixing roofs on other village property and will be able to start repairing the filtration plant's roof soon. That work will be covered by the village's insurance policy, Randall said.
With thousands of visitors expected for Ironman - more than 3,000 competitors plus their family members, friends and support staff - Randall said the good news is that people won't need to worry about the village's drinking water.
"Here we are, this is one of the biggest weekends of the summer season for Lake Placid, and I think the thing for our residents and visitors to know is their water source is secure; pump systems are working they way they're supposed to work," he said. "The damage was limited to roof damage for the most part."
The storm also delayed a repaving project on Colden Avenue, one of the routes for the Ironman race, but Randall said crews were able to restart work on Wednesday.
Many properties along the shore of Lake Placid sustained heavy damage as powerful wind peeled back swaths of shoreline 30 to 40 yards long in some places.
Lakeshore Trail, which connects to a network of trails including Peninsula Trail, had dozens of trees down across it. Lake Placid Shore Owners Association President Mark Wilson said that trail is on state land and will likely require a big cleanup effort.
Margo Fish owns property on the lake's western shore. She said she was still without power Wednesday morning.
"About 5 o'clock (Tuesday) when the winds really came, it was like (Tropical Storm) Irene again," she said. "And terrifying winds. And 15 trees fell. They didn't destroy the buildings, but very nearly."
Fish said she's thankful no one was hurt.
Lori Randall owns a home on Mirror Lake Drive, not far from the state Department of Environmental Conservation's boat launch. She said her property has a grove of Scotch pine trees ranging from 60 to 80 feet tall. The storm knocked down at least 18 of them.
"Thankfully, none of them fell toward the house," she said. "We will replant, but we'll never be able to replace them because of their size. It was a beautiful grove of trees."
Power has been restored to most customers in Lake Placid, although there are still some issues off of Lodge Way that are impacting customers on Lake Placid, including homes on Rickard Way, Camp Way and Redwing Way.
The Lake Placid Municipal Electric Department hopes to restore all power today, according to Brad Jaques, head driver of the Lake Placid Volunteer Fire Department.