CAPITAL REGION — As National Grid and emergency management teams throughout the Capital Region worked to restore power to thousands of people and to get roads reopened, stories of close calls started to emerge, mainly in the region’s western counties.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency for 11 counties Friday, including Hamilton, Herkimer, Montgomery, Saratoga and Warren counties. Cuomo deployed 200 members of the National Guard equipped with dump trucks and front-end loaders and other equipment to assist with clearing debris.
— In Broadalbin in Fulton County early Friday morning, a vehicle driven by a Gloversville man went off County Highway 106 and ended up nearly submerged in flood water from Skinner Creek. The man, Allen Jordan, was able to make it to the roof of the car and was rescued by Broadalbin-Kennyetto Fire Co.
“I don’t know exactly what happened, in terms of what he did to get where he was, but the sheriff’s arrived first, and when we got there he was on top of his car standing,” Fire Chief Scott Hall said.
We utilized our [semi-amphibious] Argo,” Hall said, referring to an 8-wheel ATV. “I always have a plan A, B, or C for rescue work, and we were thinking either doing a ladder, but this was the best plan to get him out of the elements, the water.” Hall said he does not believe Jordan was injured, although he was cold.
“When the temperature started to drop, I don’t know if he was hypothermic or what. The EMS personnel warmed him up, and I’m pretty sure they took him to the hospital for an evaluation.”
Fulton County Sheriff Richard Giardino said the full accident report wouldn’t be available until early next week.
— In Fulton County, Steven Santa Maria, the county emergency management services coordinator, said one of the more harrowing incidents in his area was the rescue of six people in the town of Hope, Hamilton County, whose home had been cut off by the Sacandaga River.
He said the Gloversville Fire Department provided mutual aid assistance to the state Department of Environmental Conservation, which used a boat to rescue the people. He said the National Weather Service issued a warning of the potential failure of the Brookfield Trenton Falls Dam in southern Herkimer County on the West Canada Creek. A failure would have threatened Montgomery, southern Fulton and southern Herkimer counties.
“Fortunately that never occurred, but as a precaution the Hilltop Volunteer Fire Department and the Oppenheim Volunteer Fire Department evacuated the Eagle Mills area. We evacuated in the Eagle Mills area 24 to 36 homes,” he said.
Santa Maria said the major roads that were closed in Fulton County included: Route 29 toward Dolgeville; the Dolgeville Bridge over the East Canada Creek; 29A in the town of Stratford; Route 10 in Arietta, Hamilton County. There was also flooding of some streets in the low lying areas in Johnstown and Gloversville.
— In the village of Fultonville in Montgomery County, Mayor Linda Petterson Law said the village narrowly escaped flooding thanks to a $100,000 pump purchased with a federal Emergency Management Agency grant after flooding from Tropical Storm Irene in 2011.
Law said she got a call at 3 a.m. Friday morning from the Montgomery County Emergency Management Office indicating the village, located along the Mohawk River, was threatened by floodwaters and needed to use its pump, which was installed by the Army Corps. of Engineers, to pump out water every 15 minutes to prevent flood damage.
She said the pump is similar in design to pumps used in New Orleans, and is capable of pumping 3,500 gallons per minute. She said the Fultonville Volunteer Fire Department also deployed its pumps to help keep the water from flooding Fultonville homes behind Montgomery and Union streets.
“At one point, it was like within seven inches and we were like if it doesn’t start to recede … I didn’t know if we could proceed, but we did, and we’re very happy about it,” she said.
Montgomery County Emergency Management Director Rick Sager said the flooding did not equal the damage of the 2007 and 2011 floods in Montgomery County.
“I’ve really gotta give some credit to the Canal Corp., which two days previous to this storm started to release gates and dams at the lock locations, which really opened up the river for some more capacity,” Sager said.
Sager said his department mobilized six people plus Montgomery County sheriff’s deputies to provide flood level monitoring throughout the county.
Some of the areas affected by the flooding in Montgomery County included the Curtis Lumber on 5S near Fort Plain and Canajoharie, the county’s Department of Public Works parking lot and Fonda Speedway. Six people living in three homes on Van Wagenen Drive in Fultonville were evacuated, although they’ve since returned to their homes. The St. Johnsville Marina was also flooded, but there were no boats in the marina.
“This is just the way it goes with flooding in Montgomery County,” Sager said.
Elsewhere in the Capital Region, thousands were still without power Saturday, as National Grid and emergency management teams throughout the Capital Region worked to clean up the mess made by gale force winds and heavy rainfall Thursday night and Friday morning.
National Grid Spokesman Patrick Stella said electricity had been restored to approximately 107,000 out of 125,000 customers by 4 p.m. Saturday. He said National Grid had 620 employees working Saturday night to restore power. “We think the power will be restored to the majority of customers, especially in the Schenectady-Troy-Albany area by late [Saturday] night,” Stella said. earlier in the day. “These other areas that were harder hit, like out Saratoga [going] north up into the Adirondacks and the Gloversville area will go into [Sunday].
Schenectady County officials said their county was spared from most of the damage. “Schenectady County was very lucky — no structural/road/bridge damage,” county spokeswoman Erin Roberts said. “The two areas that are prone to damage, Jumpin’ Jacks and the Stockade, also had zero damage. The [Mohawk] river has been receding for the last 18 hours and with the current forecast the county believes that the river level will continue to drop.”
Locally, rain storm damage was worst in northern Saratoga County, northwestern Fulton County and Hamilton County.
The Saratoga County Office of Emergency Services offered dry ice to people without electricity at the Wilton Fire Department on Ballard Road from noon to 4 p.m.