Recovery Underway in New York Region Hit by Flash Flooding

August 17, 2018

Clean-up and recovery efforts continued Wednesday in several upstate New York counties where flash flooding damaged homes, vehicles and infrastructure from the Finger Lakes region to the Binghamton area.

Tuesday’s pre-dawn downpours caused flash flooding that uprooted trees, inundated homes and swept away vehicles, boats and campers in towns between Seneca and Cayuga lakes, where the National Weather Service says some areas received six inches or more of rain during the heaviest deluges.

There were no reports of fatalities or injuries.

“We haven’t seen anything like this in this area that I can recall,” said Brandi Godley, the 911 operations manager for Seneca County. “Most people are still in shock.”

Godley said local emergency management officials and public works crews were out checking damage to roads and bridges Wednesday, a little more than 24 hours after torrents of water swept down the sloping hillsides ringing the lakes, known for their scenery and numerous wineries and vineyards.

Campers, vehicles, boats, trees and other debris were carried away and wound up clogging the shoreline in the town of Lodi, on Seneca Lake’s southeast shore.

“Our home was gone. Our boat is gone. The new car that we bought last week is gone,” Karen Mott told WHEC-TV in Rochester. “But we had our truck, we had each other and we had our dogs. This is really something. I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy.”

A state of emergency declared by Gov. Andrew Cuomo remains in effect until Aug. 21 in Seneca and more than a dozen other counties. The Democrat issued the declaration Tuesday after touring areas of Seneca and Broome counties where the damage was the most severe.

Cuomo ordered the New York National Guard to help with recovery efforts by providing personnel and equipment to local emergency response agencies dealing with roads that were washed out or blocked by huge piles of debris.

On Wednesday, he mobilized additional state resources, including transportation department damage assessment teams to survey infrastructure in four counties. He also directed environmental protection and financial services teams to conduct flood response services such as assessing spill sites and helping property owners with insurance claims.

“Mother Nature keeps changing her pitch a little bit,” Cuomo said during a news conference outside Binghamton on Tuesday. “This is a little different than what we’ve seen before. These are flash floods, but they’re very intense cells that can drop a large amount of water in a very short period of time.”

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