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June 29, 2013

Officials: Area dodged major storm

By Mark Boshnack Staff Writer
The Daily Star

---- — Flooding that began in the region Thursday evening had a relatively minor impact on the area Friday, while residents of the neighboring counties of Herkimer, Montgomery and Oneida were hit hard, officials said.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a disaster declaration Broome, Chenango, Clinton, Delaware, Essex, Franklin, Herkimer, Madison, Montgomery, Oneida, Otsego, Tioga, Schoharie, St. Lawrence and Warren counties that have been hit by severe storms and flooding. States of Emergency have been declared in the village of Sherburne, town and village of Middleburgh as well as municipalities in Montgomery and Herkimer County.

According to an official with state Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Services the damage in Herkimer, Montgomery and Oneida is widespread. It is too early to assess the extent of the damage as the agency is “still in a response mode.’ About 3,400 people in the affected areas are without power.

The American Red Cross had been operating four shelters earlier in the day but at about 5 p.m. that was down to two, with staffing for up to 200 at the Mohawk Valley Community College. A shelter at the Oneida Armory has been moved to the YMCA where there were 30 people. The state Division of Agriculture and Markets is setting up a pet shelter in Montgomery county. Information about flood safety tips is on the the Homeland Security website at

In Chenango County, a dispatcher said Friday afternoon that the northeast areas of the county, including Sherburne and Columbus, were the hardest hit, with several roads washed out or closed because culverts washed out. Some minor flooding was possible but nothing drastic was expected that night.

Sherburne-Earlville Central School Superintendent Gayle Hellert said about 12 evacuees came to an emergency shelter set up at the school shortly after midnight Friday morning. They left about 6 a.m. With the river receding, she said she was hopeful there would be no more problems.

In Otsego County Emergency Services Coordinator Kevin Ritton said the northeast part of the county was the hardest hit. The major impact is the indefinite closure of county Route 31, on the east side of Otsego lake, from Cooperstown to Glimmerglass State Park because of a washout. State Route 80, on the east side of the lake, was being repaired Friday and was expected to be open about 6 p.m. day. A few other temporary road closings were reported.

His department as well as those of surrounding counties including Delaware and Schoharie are responding to a call from the Department of Homeland Security to send equipment and manpower from area fire departments to help with the cleanup in Herkimer County.

Delaware County Emergency Services Director Richard Bell said Friday afternoon his county had no reports of flooding. Emergency dispatchers reported no roads closed Friday night but said there was some minor flooding on county Route 21.

Schoharie County Emergency Services Director Kevin Neary said that his county was “very fortunate so far,” but it remains on a high level of alert. With rain in the forecast in the next few days people need to be alert to and listen to the news for any changes.