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Stockade residents watched helplessly as water rose (with video, photo gallery)

Stockade residents watched helplessly as water rose (with video, photo gallery)

Residents of the Stockade's streets that dead end at the Mohawk River waited and watched Monday as t
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Residents of the Stockade's streets that dead end at the Mohawk River waited and watched Monday as the river crept ever higher.

Most said it was already the highest they'd ever seen. Some were already getting a preview of the damage they'd see when the water finally goes down.

Stephen Richert was on North Street, using his small boat to return home to get a change of clothes and a life jacket for his dog, Dogga.

"My refrigerator is floating sideways in my kitchen," Reichert said after returning to dry land. His common impression of the whole situation: "I don't like it."

As of noon, the city had opened Broadway and Erie Boulevard, both of which had been closed because of flooding.

The river was still rising, meteorologist Steve Nogueira said, with a crest expected between 11 a.m. and noon. Where it will crest wasn’t clear, but it was not expected to be at record levels, he said. The new forecasts came as new data came in, he said.

Moderate flooding at Schenectady is categorized as 225 feet, major flooding comes at 227 feet.

But predictions were still in flux. City police said Monday morning they were still expecting a crest at 229.5 feet, with water hitting that mark as early as 10 a.m. and remaining there until as late as mid afternoon.

Acting Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy said preparations for the higher levels, including road closures, would remain in place.

“We’re cautiously optimistic that we’re through the worst of it,” McCarthy said Monday morning. “In a few hours here, we can start the cleanup and get the city back to normal.”

The two main buildings on Schenectady County Community College's campus were flooded, according to Board of Trustees Chairwoman Denise Murphy McGraw.

Around the region

For the latest from Schenectady's suburbs, click HERE.

For the latest from Schoharie and Montgomery counties, click HERE.

For a complete list of road and bridge closures, click HERE.

"The basement is completely flooded and now it's up to the first floor," she said.

College officials were trying to save the library but she did not think that would be too successful.

"I can’t believe it," she said. "It’s a horrible feeling because I can’t get down over there. It's bad."

All activities are canceled for the week. College officials are hoping to open on Sept. 6 as scheduled.

Throughout the Stockade's dead end streets residents and non residents gathered to watch the water.

Dorothy Nangle thought it was best to be there, on her street. She'd been on Ingersoll Avenue, where she's lived for 2 1/2 years, since just before 10 Monday morning. She'd evacuated the night before at about 8:30.

As she watched Monday, the water at her home kept rising.

"There's some comfort in standing here," Nangle said, "because if you're not here then you don't know what's going on."

Nangle was like many residents of the Stockade's dead end streets. As the Mohawk River rose to levels none had seen before, they watched and waited for the water to crest and recede.

They also met their neighbors. Nangle's met her new neighbor, Angie Krogh. Krogh was really a new neighbor - she moved in three days ago. Now her first-floor apartment was inundated. She watched with Nangle.

After Krogh and her boyfriend moved all their belongings in, they moved the essentials back out, including photos and electronics. Everything else, she believed, was ruined.

"Regardless of how long I was there, it was still my home and it's still upsetting."

Both Nangle and Krogh took advantage of what Nangle called the "canoe kids," checking on their cats and their homes. Nangle had the door to her attic opened for her cats. Krogh's boyfriend Paris Miceli checked on their apartment.

Their bed, she said, was floating.

Neither Krogh, nor Nangle, has flood insurance.

As Nangle evacuated Sunday night, she said she thought of what she needed. She grabbed her family photos, her two dogs and her laundry. It was important to have clean underwear, she said with a laugh.

Then she left.

"Everybody got out alive," she said. "Everybody's OK. The thing is, we've lost a lot of things. But we can replace those. ... We're all healthy, and we'll come together as a community and work this out."

On Washington Avenue, people gathered to watch a Channel 13 live shot at noon, the reporter standing shin-high in the flood water.

Nearby, resident Angelina Carlino and her 5-year-old son, Dean, were moving their cat to a friend's home.

Water had filled their basement, with the shoreline creeping to their doorstep. She expected water in her first floor. The basement was long-since flooded.

The family just moved in a few months ago.

Carlino said she had a range of emotions as she watched the water.

"It's kind of cool, it's a pain, it's annoying," Carlino said. "I don't know. What can you do? It's a part of nature, you can't control it.

On Ferry Street, Connie Colangelo, 74, watched the water slowly creep up to her house of 52 years.

"We've never seen it this high," Colangeleo said, adding a short time later, "We're waiting and we're hoping that they're telling us the truth that it's going to crest at 1,"

Back on North Street, another woman got a first look at her house by boat. They'd moved their furniture upstairs, but the first floor was deluged.

Across the now-waterway, Ronnie Iovinella and his wife, Estela, took a canoe back to shore from their second floor home.

Amazingly, Ronnie Iovenella said they still had power. They stayed at the house until 4 a.m., then left. All the hotels were full, he said. They returned about 10 a.m. Monday, Ronnie carrying his wife on his shoulders through the water and back home.

"I didn't feel like going from Stewarts to the diner, to Stewarts to the diner anymore, so I just put her on my shoulders, just like that, and walked back in," he said.

They stayed for a couple hours, then took the canoe back out. He said he expected to spend his time at OTB.

He also said he was glad the flood wasn't as bad as had once been predicted. "I'm happy the predictions were way off. They were saying it would be in my second floor," he said, "but it doesn't look like it's going to reach there."

Preparations for the forecast catastrophic flood, one that apparently now won’t be realized, included closures of Erie Boulevard from Interstate 890 to Freemans Bridge Road.

The city also asked businesses in those areas to close or limit operations. Interstate 890 was closed to traffic in both directions from Exit 5 (Broadway) to Exit 2 at Campbell Road, but later reopened, though exits to downtown Schenectady remained closed.

The preparations also included increasing the water supply and sandbagging electrical components at the water plant off Rice Road and the wastewater treatment plant.

“It really was a quite impressive operation,” McCarthy said of the effort.

City police also noted downed powerlines and trees remained around the city, with crews working on those issues throughout the day.

At the Red Cross shelter at the city's new public works building, about 30 people took shelter Sunday evening, officials said. Many of them came from the flood-threatened Stockade.

Todd from Glenville, though, was simply stranded. He did not give his last name.

Working the third shift at Target, he said, they let him out early, at about 3 a.m. But Todd takes the bus, and the buses weren't running to Glenville because the bridges were closed.

"Every bridge was closed, so I'm kind of stranded," he said.

As for the others who were there, the Stockade residents, Todd said he feels bad for them. His home is safe, it's just that he can't get to it.

At the shelter, evacuees slept on cots in a large garage area. One volunteer noted that the size of the building, along with the situation itself, made it difficult for some to sleep.

Some of the cots were being moved to a shelter at Schalmont Junior-Senior High School in Rotterdam, where a greater number of evacuees was waiting.

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