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Franklin County estimates more than $4 million damage from flooding this week


MALONE - Franklin County has already seen more than $4 million in damages from flooding this week, and county Emergency Services officials warned lawmakers Friday those numbers could continue to rise with more precipitation forecast for the next few days.

Franklin County Emergency Services Director Ricky Provost and Deputy Director John Bashaw met with the Franklin County Board of Legislators for a special meeting Friday to discuss the areas most affected by the flooding and assessment of damages.

Mr. Provost told the board that as of Friday morning the assessment for damages is $4.173 million. But he said this does not take into account damages for the Saranac Lake area since water there still has to recede.

“We haven’t been able to look at every road and every bridge,” Mr. Provost said.

However, photographs that Mr. Provost showed the board through a slide show depict washed out roads, homes surrounded by water and overflowing rivers.

He noted that the flooding began Tuesday; the first emergency call came in for flooding on County Route 25.

“It was obvious to John [Bashaw] and I at 7 p.m. [that night] we were in trouble,” Mr. Provost said.

By 10 p.m. Tuedsay, 20 roads were flooded. The next morning Mr. Provost said emergency officials met to discuss a plan of action for the next day. By then, he noted 28 roads were closed due to flooding.

That’s when Mr. Provost and other officials met with Billy Jones, (D-Chateaugay) chairman of the board of legislators, and decided to declare a state of emergency. At that time, Mr. Provost said damages had already amounted to over $1 million.

Mr. Provost said Lower Park Street in Malone was closed Wednesday. He noted the nearby Macomb Hydro Dam on the Salmon River normally has a 70-foot drop, but that day it was reduced to 30 feet.

He noted that water rose in Fort Covington and three people had to be rescued from their homes.

Though officials made it clear that the flood damage appears to be extensive, reimbursement for damages may not come. “There’s no guarantee we’re going to get any funding for this,” Mr. Provost said. “We need to make our voices heard.”

He noted for federal funding to be made available the state has to declare a disaster area where damages amount to more than $26 million. He noted that a couple other counties declared disaster areas Thursda.

As for Lower Park Street mitigation, the area that flooded last winter and left 10 homes severely damages flooded again over the last few days.

Mr. Provost said each hour it doesn’t rain means that water levels are receding. However, rain is in the forecast for early next week.

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