Recovery seems to be becoming a way of life in Schoharie County.
Volunteers, including members of Schoharie Area Long-Term Recovery, Brethren Disaster Ministries, World Renew’s Green Shirts and the American Red Cross of Northeastern New York, dispersed throughout the county Saturday to help in the wake of Friday’s flash flooding that stranded motorists, blocked roads and trapped students at Middleburgh Elementary School for several hours before buses could get to the school to take them home.
Aid was concentrated largely in Middleburgh and Schoharie, according to a news release from the Red Cross.
Red Cross workers delivered about 30 clean-up kits, which include mops, bleach, gloves and buckets, and dropped off snack packs and water to people working on their yards, driveways and homes. They also arranged for accommodations and other supplies for a woman forced out of her home in Middleburgh and provided medical services to other people.
Assemblyman Peter Lopez, R-Schoharie, who spent Friday talking to regional emergency management officials and Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s staff, said Saturday, “I will continue reaching out to our neighbors and local officials to assess damage and work with the governor’s office to look for funding to assist with repairs.”
His home was not spared from the flooding, as a failed culvert redirected water into it. Lopez said he has a lot of landscaping to do and repair work in his basement after it dries out.
National Weather Service meteorologist Hugh Johnson said the area was ripe for flash flooding, due to the intensity of Friday’s rainfall and the ground that was already saturated by rain earlier in the week.
Lopez said the intensity was comparable to the rainfall during Tropical Storm Irene. He said the result was serious damage along the Schoharie Creek and the undoing of tens of thousands of dollars of repairs under way in the stream bed and along its banks.
“The frequency and intensity of these rogue storm cells is distressing,” said Lopez, referring to isolated areas in a storm that are stronger than the rest of the storm.
The focus moving forward, he said, should be on improving community resiliency to storms.
The short-term prospects for the region are looking better, said Johnson. Despite the possibility of scattered showers over the next few days, he said, “I think the overall trend will be for a slow dry out.”
He said this would mean water levels would likely retreat in coming days. This was already the case Saturday night, as the Schoharie Creek at Burtonsville remained near flood stage, but was projected to continue to recede.