Montgomery County

Timeline: The flood and what followed

A timeline of events before, during and after the flooding of late summer 2011.



Tropical wave exits African coast.


Tropical depression forms as the wave approaches Lesser Antilles, upgrades to Tropical Storm Irene.


Storm upgraded to Category 1 Hurricane, the first of 2011, as it reaches Puerto Rico, cutting power to 1 million people, then bears down on the U.S.


Magnitude 5.8 earthquake hits East Cost, the strongest since 1944, shaking structures from Georgia to Maine. Capital Region shopping malls, state and county office buildings evacuated, critical infrastructure escapes major damage.


New York City Department of Environmental Protection announces water releases of 600 million gallons per-day, a total of 2.4 billion gallons, out of the Schoharie Reservoir and into the Ashokan Release Channel, allowing the Ashokan reservoir to absorb runoff. DEP later reports siphons, installed years earlier when the dam was labeled inadequate, release a total of 2.8 billion gallons of water before Tropical Storm Irene flooding that would have traveled downstream on the Schoharie Creek.


New York Army and Air National Guard announces plans to deploy 900 soldiers and more than 100 vehicles on Saturday, Aug. 27 to support civil authorities on Long Island, New York City and Hudson Valley. More than 12,400 Airmen and Soldiers and 680 vehicles available.


Irene makes landfall at 7:30 a.m. near Cape Lookout, North Carolina.

Magnitude 2.9 earthquake recorded about three miles west of Altamont.


Nonstop rainfall, heavy winds, power outages under way throughout Capital Region.

Associated Press reports streets and subways emptied in New York City, other cities brace for impact including Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Boston metro areas.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo visits the New York Power Authority’s Blenheim-Gilboa hydroelectric project for a briefing on Saturday’s earthquake which was said to have no impact on the NYPA earthen dam that holds back roughly 5 billion gallons of water on the Schoharie Creek.

Evacuations already urged in low-lying areas of Schoharie County before noon when County Undersheriff Ronald Stevens orders sounding of Gilboa Dam siren system after noontime. Firefighters months later report seeing traffic from fleeing residents after the sirens went off. Numerous residents later report deciding to evacuate once sirens are heard.

Amsterdam Fire Department calls Amsterdam school district, requests shelters be opened at Bacon and McNulty schools at about 3 p.m. Evacuations begin on city’s South Side, 3:45 p.m. Residences near Mohawk River on East and West ends of city evacuated starting at 6:30 p.m., complete at 8:50 p.m.

Power is out in the Stockade historic district in Schenectady, which borders the Mohawk, and police go door to door urging residents to evacuate.

State Route 5 west in Amsterdam shut down, inundated by Mohawk River, Amtrak station flooded.


St. Mary’s Healthcare begins evacuations from Guy Park Ave. hospital in city of Amsterdam at about 12:45 a.m., more than 70 people moved to Memorial Campus in town of Amsterdam.

Amsterdam Fire department reports Mohawk River floodwaters reach within one foot of South Side flood wall, requests National Grid start pulling meters for safety on north side of river.

New York Army National Guard soldiers from 719th Transportation Company join police to rescue people trapped by flooding and provide help in Schoharie County.

New York City Department of Environmental Protection reports the Gilboa Dam — undergoing a multimillion-dollar reconstruction project — was deemed “structurally sound” following a post-flood engineering inspection. Dam held up to floodwater record of 1,137.95 feet recorded at 2:30 p.m. on Aug. 28. Prior record was 1.5 feet lower, set in 1996.

Floodwater claims only local victim, Stephen Terleckey Sr., 72, of the town of Florida, who died driving to his business, Karen’s Produce, on state Route 5S where the road was washed out by Schoharie Creek.


New York Power Authority announces termination of “Type B” emergency following water seepage at earthen embankment at Vischer Ferry Power Dam on Mohawk River.

Discussion on need for recovery effort begins in devastated Schoharie. Schoharie Recovery Inc, later incorporates on Sept. 28.


NYS Thruway open in both directions, 17,800 National Grid customers remain without power, 89 percent restored, 52,329 NYSEG customers in the dark, 81 percent restored. Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office reports National Grid restoration expected in a day except for Amsterdam, Middleburgh, Schoharie and in Schenectady’s Stockade.



Schoharie County farmers, business owners and local officials meet in devastated village of Middleburgh with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, Rep. Paul Tonko, D-NY, NY Farm Service Agency Director Jim Barber.

New York Agriculture Commissioner Darrel J. Aubertine attends briefing at Cobleskill Fairgrounds Emergency Operations Center, then visits flood-wrecked farms.

Montgomery County Department of Social Services opens temporary office at Amsterdam City Hall Annex Bldg.

National Grid makes dry ice available in Middleburgh and Cobleskill, opens Mobile Emergency Center in Middleburgh,

NY Army National Guard reports 150 hours of flight time and completed transport of 60,000 pounds of food and water to isolated mountain towns in Greene and Schoharie County, towns getting help include Margaretville, Prattsville, Middleburgh.


FEMA Individual Assistance made available to homeowners, renters and small businesses in Saratoga, Montgomery, Orange, Sullivan, Clinton, Rockland, Suffolk and Warren counties. Public assistance available to Kings County.

Tide Loads of Hope mobile truck offers free laundry at Wal-Mart parking lot in Cobleskill.

Duracell Power Relief Program truck sets up at Cobleskill Wal-Mart, provides use of computers with wireless internet access, free batteries and electronic device charging.

Tropical Depression Lee forms, churns gradually northward toward Louisiana.


Tornado with winds up to 110 mph hits Montgomery and Schenectady counties between 5:20 p.m. and 5:35 p.m. National Weather Service determines the tornado had a path length of 7 miles with a width up to a half-mile. Extensive damage in the hamlet of Cranesville, Town of Amsterdam, trees snapped off and uprooted, windows broken in homes, shingles torn off roofs, numerous sheds and outbuildings destroyed.

Amsterdam Fire Department calls in additional personnel as Tropical Storm Lee flooding swells Mohawk River.

Volunteers gather at Old Fort Johnson in Montgomery County to help clean up the historic landmark and grounds.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announces $15 million will be dedicated to help on flooded farms through the Agriculture and Community Recovery Fund administered by the New York State Agriculture and Markets department.


Schoharie Central School announces school won’t open as planned on Sept. 12, school building designated as staging areas for the state DEC, county fire services, NYS DOT vehicles and other support services. Between 150 and 190 emergency personnel hosted at school.

New York Air National Guard’s 109th Airlift Wing sends 55 Airmen to Middleburgh High School to help cleanup.

National Weather Service issues Flood Watch due to tropical moisture streaming northward.

Schoharie County Community Action Agency Inc. opens flood relief donation and distribution center at Wohl’s Plaza, Cobleskill, requests donations.

NYS Canal Corp. shuts down Champlain Canal from Lock C-1 in Waterford to Lock C-7 in Fort Edward due to high water levels.


Rainfall from Tropical Storm Lee soaks region, rivers and creeks swell again.

Cobleskill Creek overtakes state Route 7 in Cobleskill. Schoharie County emergency operations center at Sunshine Fairgrounds in Cobleskill evacuated due to flooding creek, dozens of emergency workers head to Cobleskill Firehouse.

Portions of U.S. Route 20 in Esperance shut down, Old Route 30 and Route 30A in Sloansville flooded. Shun Pike, Junction, Priddle and Creek roads and Steuben Street shut down in Esperance.

Flooding reported at SUNY-Cobleskill, classes canceled, Curtis Mott Engineering building evacuated. First-floor lobbies, stairwells, entrances and hallways sustain flood damage on 10 wings in the five residence halls.

Flooded roads lead to about 15 students being housed at the Cobleskill-Richmondville school due to road washouts and difficult travel for parents.

Schoharie county announces evacuations under way in Blenheim, Broome and villages of Middleburgh and Schoharie.

NY State Financial Services Department Superintendent Benjamin M. Lawsky visits Middleburgh and hears complaints from residents and business owners about insurance woes.

State police report road closures due to flooding including U.S. Route 20 over Schoharie Creek, state Route 5 from I-890 to Montgomery County line, state Route 145 from county route 352 to Travis Hill Rd. in Rensselaerville, state Route 85 at Route 85A in the town of New Salem.

Evacuations take place in Amsterdam’s South Side, east and west ends.


Emergency officials temporarily shut down all bridges over the Mohawk River in Schenectady County as Mohawk River crests.

Cresting Mohawk River enters first floor in homes in Schenectady’s Stockade neighborhood.

Approach to state Route 103 leading from Glenville to Rotterdam Junction washed out by flooding Mohawk River.

State Route 5 shut down between Palatine and Fonda, Montgomery County, due to flooding damage, washout and collapsed culvert.

Montgomery County Emergency Management lifts un-necessary travel ban.

Montgomery County plans office buildings to open Friday, Sept. 9, accept for flooded Annex Building near the Mohawk River.

FEMA opens Disaster Relief Center at Amsterdam Riverfront Center parking lot.

uHomes along Park Street and the Fonda Fairgrounds flooded. At least a dozen homes had water in the cellars on the other side of the Mohawk River in Fultonville.


Westbound traffic on NYS Thruway remains restricted to one lane between exits 27 and 28 due to Schoharie Creek undermining Thruway bridge and state Route 5S.

Montgomery and Schoharie counties announce free Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis shots for adults.


uNational Grid electrical transmission line plummets into the Mohawk River on the south side of Lock E-10 after Mohawk River re-routes itself around the Mohawk Dam. Roughly 20,000 customers left without power after 1 a.m.


National Grid deploys helicopters to re-string major power lines across the Mohawk River in Cranesville where the river undermined electricity structures.

US Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-NY, visits Amsterdam, calls for more federal aid, joined by Rep. Paul D. Tonko, D-Amsterdam, at devastated Guy Park Manor and Erie Canal Lock 11.


Catskill Watershed Corporation announces $5 million flooding restoration fund for businesses, $220,500 available for Schoharie County firms affected by the floods in the towns of Gilboa, Conesville, Jefferson and Broome.


Middleburgh school announces plans to open on Monday, September 19.

National Grid begins re-lighting gas service for about 400 customers in hard-hit Rotterdam Junction. Service shut down that was fed by gas line traveling on state route 103 bridge at Canal Corp. Lock E-9, which collapsed into the Mohawk River.

FEMA announces plans to open Disaster Recovery Center in Voorheesville. DRCs open in counties of Essex, Greene, Montgomery, Nassau, Orange, Rensselaer, Rockland, Schenectady, Schoharie, Suffolk, Ulster and Westchester.


NYS Department of Environmental Conservation says 1,550 spills were reported to Spills Hotline since Aug. 28, compared with roughly 600 spills during same time period in 2010. Statewide, both storm events flooded 13 wastewater treatment plants, 41 plants bypassed all or part of treatment units, with a total of 54 units only partially treating.


US. Postal Service reports emergency operation suspensions, due to flood damage from Irene and Lee, at four post offices including Fort Hunter Post Office, services moved to Amsterdam Free Library.


Gov. Andrew Cuomo announces Neighborhood Rebuilding Corps launched, funded by $16 million emergency grant from US Department of Labor.


NYS Thruway Authority announces all lanes of I-90 re-opened in Amsterdam following repairs to embankment that forced lane closure Sept. 2 at milepost 178.

Montgomery County announces offices typically located in flooded Annex Building on Park St. in Fonda; six offices moved to 64 Broadway county building, three offices to Old Courthouse on Park Street, two offices to Sheriff’s Office on Clark Drive in Fultonville.

NYC Department of Environmental Protection reports repair work to flood-damaged Gilboa Dam spillway complete, requiring roughly 4,000 cubic yards of concrete.


City of Amsterdam announces flood-related refuse pickup to continue through Sept. 28.

National Grid announces application to NY Public Service Commission to create $6 million economic disaster aid fund.


Tornado with winds up to 70 mph strikes the town of Glen, Montgomery County, at about 6:15 p.m. National Weather Service reports the tornado 150 feet wide travels about one mile, downing trees and breaking off branches just west of Noeltner Road near Ripley Road.


Gov. Andrew Cuomo announces Erie Canal to open from Nov. 24 to Dec. 8 to help stranded boats get off the system.


Montgomery County Board of Supervisors commissions $750,000 project to clear blockage in side channel of Schoharie Creek near bridge in Burtonsville. Tons of debris including stones, boulders and trees to be removed in effort to prevent future flooding.

Archaeologists describe wealth of artifacts uncovered at Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site near the confluence of the Schoharie Creek and Mohawk River. Artifacts found beneath the visitor center’s parking lot that was washed away by flooding.


Federal Emergency Management Agency announces start of transport for Temporary Housing Units headed to a staging area at the former Guilford Mills factory in Cobleskill.

NYC DEP announces $1 million fund for Upstate Flood Relief to help businesses recover, program to be administered by Catskill Watershed Corp., which established a $5 million Flood Recovery Fund.


NYS DOT announces state Route 5 between Palatine and Fonda in Montgomery County re-opened following Sept. 8 closure.

Schoharie County Farm Service Agency logs visits to flood-impacted farms totaling 14 in Middleburgh, 11 in Schoharie, 4 in Blenheim, five in Cobleskill, two in Wright, three in Esperance, two in Central Bridge and one each in Jefferson, Broome, Fulton and Richmondville. Total of 342 livestock reported killed including 239 chickens, 61 dairy cows, 9 beef cows, eight goats and 25 sheep. Roughly 4,000 acres of crops inundated, between 75 and 100 acres of land lost to raging floodwaters.



FEMA Temporary Housing Units arrive at the former Guilford Mills factory site off Mineral Springs Road in Cobleskill.


FEMA approves Individual Assistance for Fulton County and Public Assistance for Schoharie County for damage by Tropical Storm Lee.


Schoharie Teachers Association begins Schoharie Teachers and You volunteer program (STAY) to insulate homes ravaged by flooding.

Cobleskill resident Jeff VanDeusen, a line supervisor for National Grid, organizes work party at Schoharie Little League, garnering support from Asplundh Tree Expert Co., Proud Castle Trucking, Oakhill Landscaping, Morissette’s Custom Tree Service, Cobleskill Stone and John’s Septic Service.


uState Assemblyman Pete Lopez, R-Schoharie, announces request to the New York Power Authority to fast-track financial assistance to Schoharie County out of funds expected to land from Blenheim-Gilboa hydroelectric facility’s upcoming license application.


Historic Old Stone Fort in Schoharie announces site’s annual Stone Fort Days event draws guest donations totaling $8,935 for flood recovery.

FEMA mitigation experts provide advice on reducing damage from future disasters at Lowe’s and Home Depot outlets in Catskill, Amsterdam, Nanuet and Hawthorne.


Schoharie Area Long Term Recovery, or SALT, holds its first meeting focusing on disaster recovery in the entire Schoharie Basin. SALT incorporates Dec. 7, 2011.

uU.S. Small Business Administration opens outreach center at 114 Fort Road, Schoharie.


Schoharie Valley Rock & Roll Flood relief benefit concert behind the Parrott House on Main Street in Schoharie raises $26,564.18 for SCCAP relief fund. Event organized by local bands, Kiwannis Club of Schoharie and Schoharie Promotional Association.


Dunkin Donuts announces $41,823 in flood relief donations collected by customers. Franchises add $25,000 to effort, totalling $66,823. Money donated to American Red Cross of Northeastern New York.


Stewart’s Shop opens a new store on Main Street in Schoharie following demolition of the old store that was inundated by floodwater Aug. 28. and construction of a new, bigger store.


Schenectady County approved for FEMA Public Assistance, Schoharie County approved for Individual Assistance for Tropical Storm Lee damage.

Enterprise Products pipeline company representative tells Schoharie County Board of Supervisors about plans to bury the company’s eight-inch pressurized propane pipeline beneath the West Kill and Schoharie creeks where flooding has exposed the pipe more than once.


Gov. Andrew Cuomo announces Agricultural and Community Recovery Fund distributed $4.5 million to 252 New York farms hit by flooding.



US Small Business Administration announces more than $70 million in disaster loans approved in New York State, extends application deadline to Dec. 15.


Countryside Mobil convenience store announces re-opening on Main Street in Village of Schoharie 12 weeks after flooding shut it down.

State Route 5S re-opens in the Montgomery County towns of Glen and Florida. The three-mile stretch was closed Aug. 28, 2011 after flooding that rendered the already-weakened bridge over the Schoharie Creek unusable. Traffic is now re-routed to the older, but stronger railway bridge that also served traffic after the 1987 Thruway Bridge Collapse.


Schoharie County Department of Social Services moves back into the county office building at 284 Main Street in the village of Schoharie.



National Grid performs final tie-in on new, 8-inch gas line buried 35 feet below Mohawk Riverbed between Glenville and Rotterdam Junction, replacing former line shut down before state Route 103 bridge at Canal Lock E-9 plummeted into the Mohawk River.



United Way announces nearly 50 Waterford and Schoharie families impacted by the late-summer floods to get help putting their lives through a $50,000 grant from the United Way of New York’s Hurricane Irene Relief Fund.


New York Power Authority central New York regional manager Lynn H. Hait conducts public hearing, describes operation of hydroelectric plant in Blenehim and its management during floods and says the system’s pumping of water into upper reservoir relieves some of the flooding in Schoharie Valley.



Schoharie Recovery Inc. announces the receipt of a $500,000 from an anonymous donor, fundraising efforts reach between $900,000 and $1 million.

MARCH 2012


Schoharie staff and students learn they won $100,000 in technology equipment for their work depicting flooding and what can be learned from it as part of the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest.


Schoharie County announces request for proposals seeking mobile telephone company use of vacant cell towers in mountainous regions of the county that went dark during and in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene.

Schoharie Area Long Term Recovery Inc. announces Christian Reformed World Relief Committee plans to dispatch volunteers throughout storm-affected areas of Greene and Schoharie counties to gather precise details on what’s needed to put the region back together.


Historians and officials meet to plan approach for bringing back historic Blenheim Covered bridge that was picked up and smashed into pieces by the Schoharie Creek during flooding from Tropical Storm Irene.

APRIL 2012


Gov. Andrew Cuomo announces New York State will cover the local share of recovery costs from tropical storms Irene and Lee. The commitment represents about $1 million for Montgomery County, $1.8 million for Schenectady County, $500,000 for Saratoga County and $12.8 million for Schoharie County.


Dam Concerned Citizens, a resident group formed after engineers said the Gilboa Dam didn’t meet modern design standards, calls for additional stream gauges on the Batavia Kill, the Schoharie Creek, on Fox Creek and the Cobleskill Creek “to better alert the public of predicted stream flow levels in times of flooding.” No additional gauges have been installed.


New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection, operator of the Gilboa Dam and Schoharie Reservoir, announces $1 million donation to help speed up the completion of a new system expected to give forecasters and emergency management officials a better read on flood potential.

MAY 2012


Schoharie County officials gather at the Esperance Firehouse for the first audible test of the 20 Gilboa Dam failure sirens lining the Schoharie Valley. The sirens, paid for by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection which manages the dam, are believed to have saved dozens of lives when they were sounded August 28 before they were knocked out by flooding.


Guernsey’s Schoharie Nurseries, shut down by flooding, celebrates re-opening with local officials in the village.


Officials in Schoharie County announce the National Emergency Grant program initiates Neighborhood Rebuilding Corps Project’s Stream Debris Cleanup Team. Team made up of unemployed, primarily flood victims, will have up until Sept. 30 to remove trees, tires, logs and other things left by the storms along a 37-mile stretch of the Schoharie Creek.

JUNE 2012


The Federal Emergency Management Agency announces it will cover the bulk of the cost to rebuild the Niagara Engine Co. No. 6 firehouse in Schoharie. But the fire station — put out of commission by flooding from Tropical Storm Irene — will be rebuilt down the road, not on Grand Street, where it has been located for more than 50 years.


Gilboa-Conesville Central School district officials, parents and student gather at the school to showcase new 216-page book put together by nearly 100 students as part of a project aimed at giving young flood victims an outlet to express the wide array of emotions they felt at the end of last summer.


Schoharie fire department, the Niagara Engine Co. No. 6, sounds its fire siren for the first time since the August flooding.


FEMA announces engineers developed $30.1 million idea to retrofit Erie Canal movable dams with release mechanisms that could open dam gates under high pressure, relieving risk to personnel and allowing water and debris to flow in the event of major flooding. Agency announces a day later it’s only a proposal and discussions are ongoing with Canal Corp.

JULY 2012


State officials announce $16 million from the New York Works program to help more than 20 counties repair damage with the help of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. The announcement means more than $5 million match provided for Schoharie County which plans $21.2 million in stream repairs.


New York Power Authority reports plans to restore 1,500 feet of shoreline that was torn up just downstream of the authority’s hydroelectric power plant dam that holds back roughly 5 billion gallons of water.


State and federal officials announce plans beginning this summer for work to upgrade and repair the flood protection system on Amsterdam’s South Side.

Categories: Schenectady County

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