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Village officials inspect infrastructure in Saranac Lake (Photo:  Chris Morris)
Village officials inspect infrastructure in Saranac Lake (Photo: Chris Morris)

Village of Saranac Lake faces flood damage topping $5 million

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Emergency officials in Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake will be keeping a close watch on the water levels in their flood-swollen lakes and rivers again today.

Although conditions had stabilized in recent days, heavy rain moved through the Adirondacks Tuesday and more is in the forecast today, giving rise to fears that the local waterways could rise again.

Meanwhile, initial assessments have been compiled of some of the damage caused by the flooding over the past week in Franklin County. Chris Knight reports.

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Chris Knight
Adirondack Correspondent

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Speaking last night, Saranac Lake village manager John Sweeney said the water level at the Lake Flower dam was back up again, due to more rain and additional water that the state Department of Environmental Conservation had released from one of its locks upstream.       

"The combination, we've seen about an inch and a half additional water at the dam," Sweeney said.

With more rain expected today, Sweeney said he's concerned that Lake Flower and the Saranac River could rise again and spread into areas in the village where flood waters had receded over the weekend.

The flooding that began a week ago has already caused an estimated $5 million in damage to bridges, the village sewer plant, retaining walls and a peninsula below the dam.

That doesn't include flood damage to homes, apartment buildings and businesses. Sweeney asked property owners and others impacted by the flooding to contact the village in preparation for a visit by state and federal officials to assess the damage.

"We're trying to start those conversations so people, just like we're doing, start gathering numbers - lost wages, lost time, equipment, lost revenue - those are the conversations I'm trying to start." 

Meanwhile in Tupper Lake, fire department chief Mark Picerno said Tuesday night that the flood waters were down slightly, though he said that could change with the additional rain in the forecast.   

Picerno said about 90 homes in Tupper Lake have been impacted by flooding. Residents of some of those homes have decided to evacuate until the flood waters recede. Shelter is available for anyone who needs a place to stay, Picerno said.

"With the help from the county and the state, DEC, New York State Police, local law enforcement, DPW, Water and Sewer, Electric - we're holding our own right now. It's tiring. It's a lot of work."

States of emergency continue today in both Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake.

Franklin County Emergency Services Director Ricky Provost said Tuesday that the flooding has caused roughly $10.2 million in damage to public infrastructure in the county, a number that doesn't include Tupper Lake, where assessments haven't been completed yet.

Combined with estimates from other counties, Provost thinks the damage will be enough to exceed a $26 million threshold to have a federal disaster area declared.

A team from the Federal Emergency Mangement Agency is expected to visit the county to conduct damage assessments on Thursday, Provost said.

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