Irene leaves behind $1 million tab

| 15 Feb 2012 | 09:05

    Major flooding throughout Warwick causes havoc following tropical storm Warwick — Last weekend Tropical Storm Irene, which originated as a Category 3 hurricane, struck Warwick as a Category 1 tropical storm. But the downgrade was misleading. In the aftermath of the storm, which pounded Warwick with heavy rains late Saturday, Aug. 27, and ended with high gusty winds on Sunday evening, Aug. 28, the area experienced some of the worst flooding and devastation in recent memory. And throughout the following week, numerous road closings made it difficult for drivers to navigate their way in and out of the Village of Warwick and the surrounding area. As of 9 p.m. on Saturday night the Town of Warwick and its Villages were already under a state of emergency. All non-essential travel was prohibited. No stores or restaurants were open. But the worst was yet to come. When the heavy rains and winds ended on Sunday, the flooding and damage throughout the Town of Warwick was the most devastating in recent memory. Even residents in the higher elevations suffered damage to their roads and driveways. Supervisor Michael Sweeton reported that the estimate of the cost to restore the Town to normalcy would be more than $1 million. “It’s crazy,” he said. “Hopefully FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) will come through but the downside of that is we will be unable to perform many of the repairs until they inspect and approve them. And there will be no immediate assistance for residents although that might come later.” Motorists were faced with 11 roads closed due to flooding or downed trees and power lines. The town also lost 10 culverts. And 17 roads, which remained open, were split. Boil notice Due to water main breaks in the Village of Warwick, residents were asked to boil water until further notice. They were also advised that water may be discolored due to the turbulence at the reservoir. Two bridges in the village were washed out: Park Place next to Stanley Deming Park Colonial Ave (Kings Highway). Flooded roads included Park Lane, Forester Ave, South St. by the Wawayanda and Mistucky Creek, Bank Street, Railroad Avenue, Elm Street and Orchard Street By Tuesday, however, Wawayanda had crested and was subsiding quickly. Orange & Rockland Utility, Inc. removed a huge tree at 90 Oakland Ave. which fell across the road creating local power outages. Approximately 100 residents of the Park Lane Apartments were evacuated and brought to the Middle School. A major issue was with the Upper Reservoir Dam. Floodwaters crested the dam and eroded a part of the dam face. It was reviewed by engineers and parts of the Village including residents on South Street and adjacent areas were evacuated because of the inherent risks. The core of the dam, however, was not compromised, and evacuees were let back into to their homes at the end of the day. Many Pine Island farms were under water and the Village of Florida’s popular Tuesday Farmers’ Market was closed. In their own words We were evacuated about 7:30 in the morning by people from the police, fire and ambulance departments. My wife and I threw a few things in a bag and we followed their instructions. With the exception of two or three hold outs all 160 Park Lane residents including us were taken to the Middle School. Ray Bryant, the school superintendent, was our guardian angel. He made sure we were comfortable and well fed. They even hooked up a big screen TV and showed movies. Rev. Chris Yount, the Fire Department Chaplain, and Father Casmir, from St. Stephen’s, comforted and prayed with us. About a dozen Boy Scouts came by and helped make sandwiches and salads. And later, they brought us hamburgers. Around 6:30, school busses brought us back to our homes. There was no damage to our apartment. We had prayed, and God was good to us. Bob Demetry, Park Lane resident I would say we had a record amount of water in our basement, about five feet. But we’ve become used to this lately and so we removed and stored everything down there before the storm. I’m known on Main St. as the poster girl of Main St. flooding and I seriously thought about purchasing a rubber raft for another photo. Unfortunately increased development throughout the village has taken away much of the open lands that would normally absorb the run off of waters that now find their way to Wawayanda Creek behind our stores. Mary Beth Schlichting, owner of Frazzleberries gift shop at 24 Main St. This is the worst I’ve seen in 41 years and I’ve lived here all my life. The streets are flooded. My employees can’t make it in to work. I have customers who must have their cars ready for college or who are returning to work after vacation. I’m doing most of the work by myself. Gerry Debold, owner of South Street Tire and Auto Repair I can’t say enough about the superb performance of the Warwick Police Department, School Superintendent Ray Bryant, our DPW employees, all our volunteers with the Fire Department and the Ambulance Corps and everyone else who worked tirelessly to keep our citizens safe. They did a magnificent job. Town of Warwick Supervisor Michael Sweeton On Sunday evening about 5 p.m., an 80-year-old 40-foot tree came down on our house. My wife and son were in the attic and our dog, who was outside, narrowly escaped the fallen tree, which now covers the back yard. There was some roof, window and other damage but we’re all OK. Eddie Boller, South Street resident This was a difficult day for everyone. We were dealing with a large evacuation which included a mostly senior population. I’d like to thank Supervisor Michael Sweeton for his extraordinary help, School Superintendent Ray Bryant for his running of our emergency shelter, the many volunteers especially the able force of Boy Scouts, all our EMS - Ambulance Corps, Police, Fire Department and bus drivers for an excellent job. I particularly want to thank both Village and Town DPW crews and the Village’s Water Department for their tireless work. These crews were on call for the entire duration. Mayor Michael Newhard I expected to see snakes or turtles but I was surprised when I saw a fish laying in the road near my house. It was by a drainage ditch carrying fast moving water down the hill. Ralph Santiago, Continental Road resident I usually go out with a whimper. Now I’m going out with a bang. Father Flor McCarthy, annual visiting priest for the summer at the Church of St. Stephen, the First Martyr, who returned to his home in Ireland this week.