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August 27, 2012

Irene memories flood back to area

The Daily Star — The hurricane season has started for this year, but Jim Young of Prattsville said weather reports are too stressful to watch.

Last year, flooding from Tropical Storm Irene wrenched his hardware and feed store, A.J. Young and Son Inc., off its foundation and flooded his nearby home. The business, known as the Prattsville Agway, reopened months ago and the house was renovated, but he said emotional bruises linger even as positive steps continue toward recovery.

On Aug. 28, the tropical storm, downgraded from a hurricane, dumped torrents of rain on the Catskills, Adirondacks, Berkshires and Vermont. In New York state, Delaware and Schoharie counties were among the seven hardest hit, and Irene’s rainy, windy punch damaged or destroyed roads, bridges, homes and businesses, and one woman was killed.

Prattsville businessman weathers the storm

In Prattsville in the early morning of Aug. 28, Jim Young said, he, his wife, Peggy, and their adult sons, John and Brian, went to the hardware store and took some precautions. They moved computers to a dry location, he said, and relocated three horses to a higher site from the barn, where a foot of water collected. The storm raged while they were in the store, which was built on a three-foot platform, and Young said, eventually the store was flooded by 4 feet of water.

“I really wanted to get out of this building — I didn’t want it to cave in,” Young said. The family made a plan: John ran a garden hose from the store to a nearby utility shed, and the four climbed, along with their three dogs, onto the slightly pitched roof of the shed. They sheltered themselves with plastic garbage bags, and bags of topsoil provided some leverage.

Storm water swirled below, and at one point, Young pleaded breathlessly to Irene, “Don’t take my greenhouse,” which was nearby, but the structure was swept away.

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