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What you need to know for 01/20/2018

Montgomery County cleans up after floods

Montgomery County cleans up after floods

As a generator hums in the backyard, George Frasier is diligently working to restore his house after
Montgomery County cleans up after floods
George Frasier Jr. talks about cleanup efforts at his home after last week's flooding. His home is located at 5670 Route 5 in Palantine.
Photographer: Marc Schultz

As a generator hums in the backyard, George Frasier is diligently working to restore his house after flash floods Thursday night caused his cellar to fill with water.

Frasier, his father and a friend were hauling damaged tools and furniture out of the house that currently has no power or running water.

The trio had been working since late Thursday night after heavy rains began to slow down. He estimated that the cleanup process could take about a month or maybe even longer. Frasier is living with his parents while he cleans out his house. The damage the flood caused was not cheap either, he said.

“It will probably cost me around $20,000,” Frasier said. “Between the expensive power tools I had in there, furniture, and a few other things, yeah, it’s a lot of money.”

Frasier’s basement was one of many in Montgomery County that were flooded by the storm. Flash floods struck the county and parts of Schoharie County, with the Canajoharie Creek rising above flood stage, the National Weather Service said.

County officials lifted the state of emergency Monday morning after the order was issued Thursday night.

Flash floods that damage property and homes have become common in the county. However, Frasier said his home had not been damaged during any previous floods.

Ironically, a creek that about runs two dozen feet away from the house was not the cause of the flood.

While standing in the backyard, Frasier pointed to a hill roughly 30 feet away where the water came rushing down to fill the cellar.

“It’s weird that the creek isn’t what did me in here,” Frasier said.

Frasier said he was lucky that the water did not reach the first floor of his home.

“It made it to the top step and that was it,” he said.

Montgomery County Emergency Management Director Jeff Smith said the county is working to get help from the state and federal governments, but oftentimes that can be very difficult.

Smith said that to obtain help from FEMA a natural disaster must cause at least $26 million worth of damage.

“That is a tough threshold for us to cross,” he said. “Twenty-six million dollars is a lot of money.”

Smith said that it is unfortunate that homeowners and taxpayers have to take on the costs of the damage.

He said that massive floods are caused because the sewer system and ditches in the area are not able to hold large amounts of water, which causes severe run-off.

He said there was little the county could do to lessen the effects of floods caused by downpours. “You know it’s tough when you get hit with 3 or 4 inches of rain in such a short amount of time. I don’t really know if there is much you can do about that.”

State Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk, D-Duanesburg, who represents parts of Montgomery County, said, “I will be meeting with local officials to discuss how the state can help the recovery efforts. . . . We will look at all options that might be available this year.”

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