Rain closes roads, floods basements

Much of the Capital Region remains at risk for flooding as a storm system was expected to pound the
Kirian Cowsert, left, watches as her neighbor Mary Macauley explains how deep the water is in her basement on Route 160 in Pattersonville on Wednesday.
Kirian Cowsert, left, watches as her neighbor Mary Macauley explains how deep the water is in her basement on Route 160 in Pattersonville on Wednesday.

Much of the Capital Region remains at risk for flooding as a storm system was expected to pound the area overnight and into today after washing out roads and flooding basements throughout the region Wednesday.

National Weather Service meteorologist Neil Stuart said the Capital Region may get an additional couple inches of rain or even more today from a low-pressure system that is slowly moving east. “What it’s doing is pumping all kinds of moisture and thunderstorms in the area,” he said.

The Capital Region and parts of the western Mohawk Valley received from 1 1⁄2 to 3 1⁄2 inches of rain in a 24-hour period. A flood watch is in effect for much of the region through Friday morning.

Schenectady County declared a state of emergency at 6:45 p.m. Wednesday.

William Van Hoesen, Schenectady County director of emergency management, said flash flooding moved through the Schoharie Valley and the towns of Duanesburg, Princetown, Rotterdam and Glenville at about 5:15 p.m. A combination of fast-moving rain and plugged culverts caused the flooding.

“It can’t keep up,” he said.

There were reports of 2 feet of water on some roads. At one point, 18 roads in the county were closed.

Van Hoesen reported several roads with damage, including Church’s Road in Duanesburg and state Route 160 in Princetown.

Glenville roads closed included Weaver, Water, Sacandaga and Bolt and portions of Route 5.

“We’re trying to keep people off the roads unless it’s necessary to travel. If they come across a place where water’s coming across the road, they should turn around,” he said.

State police closed the Thruway between exits 26 and 27 after 5 p.m. when more than a foot of water swamped the road. It reopened at around 8 p.m. but reportedly was closed again late Wednesday.

Schenectady County Fire Coordinator John Nuzback said numerous fire departments helped pump out cellars.

Shawn Schultz, who lives on Scotch Church Road near the intersection of routes 160 and 5S in Pattersonville, said the road was completely washed out.

“It looks like a river washed down the road,” Schultz said.

Schultz expressed frustration because he said the county was supposed to fix the road and the neighbors all have water in their cellars and on their lawns.

Jane Vanston, who lives on Lock Street in Duanesburg, said the town has neglected to fix a pump that broke last week when a control panel blew up. The pump drains water from the street. Hers and about five other houses have basement flooding.

“The pump hasn’t worked since last week,” she said.

She said the town promised the residents a generator to get the pump started again but has not followed through. It has been an ongoing problem.


Bands of heavy rains and runoff from small streams and flooded culverts also closed part of state Route 30 between the village of Schoharie and Interstate 88.

Route 30 along the Schoharie Creek was also partially flooded in Blenheim near the New York Power Authority facilities, according to Schoharie County Emergency Management Director Judith Warner.

Emergency radio reports also indicated that stream flooding was threatening to dislodge a garage and propane tank in the Esperance area.

Water levels in the Schoharie Reservoir were about 30 feet below the crest of the Gilboa Dam by late afternoon Wednesday, Warner said. She projected that water would start spilling over the dam by late today or early Friday.

No flooding emergency was anticipated from the dam, she said.

Flooding affected other counties as well. In Guilderland, Route 20 was shut down from the intersection of Fuller Road to Schoolhouse Road.

In Montgomery County, Amsterdam Department of Public Works crews and emergency personnel were busy. Sections of Forest Avenue were closed where it was reported that logs were floating down the road near the paper mill.

A section of lawn in front of 235 Vrooman Ave. broke away, spilling into the road.

Casey Graham, who rents the house, said she had never seen anything like it before. She watched from her porch as a bulldozer cleaned the road while dirt and grass floated down the road and a worker in flip-flops directed traffic.

Most of the roads were reopened by 10:30 p.m.

Firefighters were called to McNulty Elementary School for a general fire alarm because a leak in the roof went into a heat detector in one of the storage rooms, according to Lt. Frank Alibozek.

In Saratoga County, Mechanicville police reported that Central Avenue, First Avenue and Spring Street were closed at 7 p.m. because of flooding. Police expected the roads would be reopened later. In the town of Halfmoon, a portion of Upper Newtown Road was temporarily closed by flooding, according to the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Department.

Today’s forecast calls for a high of 74 degrees with showers likely before 2 p.m. and then a chance of showers and thunderstorms after 2 p.m. Rain may be out of the picture by Friday as the forecast is for mostly sunny skies with a high near 83.

Categories: Schenectady County

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