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A snapshot from Keene Valley this morning. Photo: Sadie Holbrook.
A snapshot from Keene Valley this morning. Photo: Sadie Holbrook.

New York, North Country assess Irene's wake; flash flood hits Keene

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New Yorkers are watching rising creeks and rivers this morning. The Associated Press reports more than 900,000 homes were without power, more National Guard soldiers were deployed to clean-ups, and major highways and roads remained closed.

At least three deaths were blamed on the tropical storm. One thousand National Guard troops deployed over the weekend are to be augmented Monday with more engineers to help clear streets and debris and restore power.

Irene was no longer a hurricane by the time it hit the North Country counties, but it still packed a powerful punch. As of 10:30 last night, dozens of roads in Essex County were closed, the county's emergency radio system was off the air, many people remained stranded by high water and the county was in a state of emergency.

More than 100 roads in the county are closed because of flooding, washouts and high water threatening bridges. While the damage was widespread, County Emergency Services Director Don Jaquish said Keene and Keene Valley were hit the hardest. The Keene fire station was swept away by the floodwaters. "It's been washed away," Jacquish said last night.

People in Keene and Keene Valley had evacuated and Jacquish's crews were preparing evacuations in Upper Jay. He anticipated severe flooding in the hamlet of AuSable Forks, calling the crest of the East branch of the Ausable "unprecedented."

Brian Mann was in Keene early this morning. Talking with Martha Foley, he described a community devastated by the flash flooding.

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Trees were left resting against a home on Kiwassa Drive in Saranac Lake and the third on power lines leading to the home.  A crew from Wilson Tree Service from the Rome NY region was dispatched to the home by National Grid. Photo: Mark Kurtz.

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New Yorkers are watching rising creeks and rivers this morning. The Associated Press reports more than 900,000 homes were without power, more National Guard soldiers have been deployed to clean-ups, and major highways and roads remained closed.

At least three deaths were blamed on the tropical storm In new York.

Mike O'Neil, director of Vermont Emergency Management, described yesterday's flooding as "the worst I've ever seen'' in the state.

Parts of downtown Brattleboro and Bennington were underwater, and that was true in several smaller communities.

Sunday morning, a young woman was reported swept away and feared drowned in the swollen Deerfield River in Wilmington.

Irene was no longer a hurricane by the time it hit North Country counties, but drenching rains and heavy winds did widespread damage.

Dozens of roads are closed, and many people remained stranded by high water.

Clinton Essex Warren, Washington and Saratoga counties declared states of emergency.

Essex County's emergency radio system was off the air.  

Emergency services director Don Jacquish said more than 100 roads in the county are closed because of flooding, washouts and high water threatening bridges, "Right now our biggest issue is there are areas of the county where we cannot take people to a hospital because there's no way to get them there. They're cut off, isolated. If there's a life-threatening situation where we feel they're in danger due to river flooding, we're going to have to move them. But if not, we're going to have them stay where they are."

While the damage was widespread, Jaquish said Keene and Keene Valley were hit the hardest. The Keene fire station was swept away by the floodwaters, Jaquish said."It's been washed away.” He said there were evacuations in Keene and Keene Valley and crews were preparing for evacuations downstream in Upper Jay. He said he anticipated severe flooding in AuSable Forks, calling the flood crest of the East Branch of the AuSable River “unprecedented."

Portions of Route 73 in Keene, Keene Valley and Lake Placid were shut down due to flooding Sunday. At least two bridges, both in the town of Keene, were washed away and county officials are concerned about the safety of others.

Jaquish said the impact of the hurricane was much more severe than he expected. He said the flooding is worse than what hit the county this spring.

The Glens Falls Post Star reports Lake George Village was hit hard as heavy rain flooded brooks and local culverts. The paper reports state routes 9 and 9N, Bloody Pond Road, Lake Avenue and Bolton Road all washed out and were closed yesterday afternoon.

The Post Star also reports washouts the southern Adirondack communities of Hadley and Day, and substantial flooding was reported in Salem in Washington County.

In Franklin County, Emergency Services Director Ricky Provost said there were no major incidents, though volunteer firefighters and other first responders had a busy day: "Franklin has weathered the storm better than most," he said. "We probably had 60 or 80 calls today (Sunday) of power lines down involving trees. But no major concerns. We had one incident in the town of Franklin on the Plank Road where we had to go in and get some people out. Other than that, it's mainly assisting Clinton and Essex county."

Governor Andrew Cuomo says 10 more counties have been OK'd to get federal storm assistance.

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