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Lakefront houses and camps inundated by water in Black Lake flood


HAMMOND — Guy E. Simmons’s weekend was far from relaxing as he spent Sunday preparing for the worst at his seasonal home, 3618 County Route 6 in Edwardsville.

The house usually overlooks Black Lake, but Sunday it was in the lake.

“I went in there today and stacked the furniture and everything on tables so it doesn’t get ruined,” he said. “It’s up to my knees in the garage.”

Although the water hadn’t entered his home yet, Mr. Simmons said, his lawn mower and other equipment in his garage were destroyed by water.

Mr. Simmons said one of his concerns is that the ice will jam up against the house and garage and cause more external damage.

“It’s not done yet,” he said. “It’s going to keep getting higher.”

Mr. Simmons was one of many Black Lake residents up to their knees in water this weekend as the lake reached the highest level many residents have seen in decades.

After moving across the street on County Route 6 in Edwardsville, Don C. Snyder sold his lakefront property, 5 Shady Lawn Drive, in December. He’s lived in the area his whole life, but has seen the water this high only twice.

“Once in the ’70s and once in the ’90s,” he said. “I’ve seen it across County Route 6 before.”

Mr. Snyder said the water rose 2 inches overnight Saturday.

He called some of the out-of-town camp owners to let them know about the conditions of some of the properties.

“If it rains, we’re in trouble,” Mr. Snyder said. “There’s not much you can do, though.”

The water reached the shoulder on parts of County Route 6 in Edwardsville, and part of Route 58 in Pope Mills was flooded at the Route 184 intersection.

Many of the camps and trailers were inundated by the water.

“These people will come up to open their camps and cottages and instead they’ll have to bring contractors in to do renovations, because the water is just going to sit there and everything will be rotted out and covered in mold and mildew,” year-round resident Adam J. Towle said.

Mr. Towle spent some time Sunday putting up sandbags in the basement of his 2746 County Route 6 home as a precaution. His yard was flooded, but the water had not yet entered his home.

“I’m hoping it’s at its peak,” he said. “I’ve never seen it this high, and I’ve lived on this lake my whole life.”

Mr. Towle said the flooding is so bad this year because the lake had more than 35 inches of ice. He said he’s looking into flood insurance for his home for next year.

“We need help. This is something we’re not used to seeing,” he said. “It’s going to be a long cleanup process.”

Tom S. McHale, a property owner at 2818 County Route 6, said the water level on his property was 4 feet higher than usual.

“My father-in-law owned the property before us and he said it hasn’t been this bad since the 1940s,” Mr. McHale said.

Some residents questioned whether the Heuvelton dam authorities could have done more to prevent the extent of the flooding.

Brookfield Regional Supervisor John B. Gamble declined to comment and referred all questions to Shannon Ames, a public relations official for Brookfield who could not be reached.

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