State of emergency declared as AuSable ice jam floods homes

Town of Jay offices at the community center in AuSable Forks (Enterprise photo — Andy Flynn)

AuSABLE FORKS — Town of Jay Supervisor Matthew Stanley declared a state of emergency Friday morning after an ice jam on the AuSable River caused flooding, a result of the heavy rain from the day before.

The state of emergency went into effect 10 a.m. No major injuries were reported, according to the supervisor.

“The ice decided to leave the river this morning,” Stanley said around 1 p.m. “I got a call around 7 this morning that it was starting to jam up in Upper Jay.”

By the time Stanley got to the East Branch of the AuSable River in Upper Jay, the ice had moved downstream, going past the hamlet of Jay within a couple of hours.

“Everything looked like it was going well,” Stanley said. “By about 9, 9:30ish the ice was traveling into the hamlet of AuSable Forks and jammed up, backed up and actually flooded out probably about a dozen or two dozen houses.”

The flooding took place on Intervale Avenue (off Route 9N) on the west side of the river and Sheldrake Road on the east side of the river.

“The ice, once it got enough pressure behind it, pushed out. It did sweep away some possessions and some vehicles,” Stanley said.

By 1 p.m., the water had receded and all roads were open. By then, town officials were assessing damages to the infrastructure, water and sewer plants, roads, bridges and residences.

The town of Jay Community Center, located at 11 School Lane in AuSable Forks, was open as a warming shelter, and the Red Cross and local businesses were providing lunches at the Community Center for residents affected by the flooding.

The town received help from Essex and Clinton County Emergency Services; volunteer fire departments from AuSable Forks, Jay and Upper Jay; and a swift-water team from Saranac.

“The DPW from the town of Jay and Black Brook came to the assistance with the use of some loaders to evacuate people,” he said.

Stanley said he was in constant contact with local, county and state representatives, including Rep. Elise Stefanik, state Sen. Dan Stec and Assemblyman Matt Simpson.

People with questions or who need to aid should call the supervisor’s office at 518-647-2204 or 518-907-8269.

The state of emergency will remain in effect for five days.


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