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Esopus Creek Flooding Woodland Valley Bridge, Phoenicia, NY. Shandaken NY

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Uploaded on Jan 26, 2010

Heavy rain and snow melt from unseasonably warm weather brought flooding in the region Monday that caused road closures, early school dismissals, and left officials in the town of Shandaken declaring a state of emergency.

The rain, came down heavily starting Monday morning, caused significant flooding along roads in Shandaken, Mount Tremper, Phoenicia, the town of Kingston, and Kerhonkson, according to Art Snyder, director of Ulster County Emergency Management.

In Ulster County, there were also reports of flooding on Reservoir Road in Saugerties and Mountain Road in New Paltz. Portions of Sawkill Road were closed because of flooding along with some parts of Kyserike Road in Rochester.

The city of Kingston did not experience any significant flooding, according to Fire Chief Richard Salzmann.

Early Monday, the National Weather Service had issued flash flood warnings for areas around the Esopus Creek. Later, the same warning was issued for the areas near the Rondout Creek including Rosendale.

Greene County Emergency Management officials also reported about a dozen road closures including parts of Schoharie Turnpike and sections of state Route 32 and other local roads.

In Tannersville, about 5.2 inches of rain fell throughout the day, according to Kevin Lipton, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Albany.

Lipton said other parts of the region probably saw 1 to 3 inches.

We had an abundant amount of moisture move up from the Gulf of Mexico and that (collided) with a front from the west, Lipton said. We were able to squeeze out a lot of moisture.

Lipton said that flooding was also caused because the ground is frozen and did not absorb the rain well. He also said runoff from melting snow likely contributed to the flooding.

Lipton said skies are expected to be party sunny today, with high temperatures in the mid-40s. He said temperatures will cool off significantly as the week wears on.

Shandaken town Supervisor Robert Stanley said that a state of emergency was declared in his town when water spilled over from the Esopus Creek and other smaller waterways.

Stanley said officials had considered setting up a shelter at Town Hall but by 5 p.m. the water was subsiding. A temporary command center was set up at Town Hall.

Stanley said a number of roads sustained erosion damage including Plank Road (Old Route 28) in Phoenicia. Water also made its way onto Main Street in Phoenicia from the Stony Clove Creek.

Snyder said that sections of state Route 212 and 214 were closed during the afternoon. By 5 p.m., they were reopened, Stanley said.

The Onteora School District let high school students out of school early at 1 p.m. and elementary school students at 2 p.m.

In Kerhonkson, Snyder said that the fire station there was to serve as a shelter to house people forced out of a flooded apartment building on Nevele Road. No one took advantage of the shelter, so it was closed, Snyder said.

Snyder suggested that Ulster County residents sign up for NewYorkAlert.gov. He said the Web site will automatically send hazard weather reports to computers and cell phones.

Snyder added that the New York City Department of Environmental Protection also was pro-active in ensuring that runoff was quickly contained at the west basin of the Ashokan Reservoir, which limited the flooding in areas below the reservoir.

Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp. also reported significant outages throughout the region as high winds accompanied the rain.

John Maserjian, a company spokesman, said that felled trees on wires caused most of the outages including 1,400 in Ulster County at the beginning of the storm.

Maserjian said that by 3 p.m. there were still 800 customers left without power. He said repair crews would likely be working throughout the night to restore power.

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