Laura Stabbert | Democrat
LIVINGSTON MANOR RESIDENTS stay dry at the Sunoco gas pumps in Livingston Manor while rain comes down, flooding Pearl Street and about to flood Main Street on Friday morning.
By Jeanne Sager
SULLIVAN COUNTY The rain has been constant and after four days, the county still isn’t rid of its flood waters.
They came up in the early hours of Thursday, evicting people from spots in the Towns of Callicoon, Delaware and Rockland.
Then the sun came out. A reprieve. The county and state got to work and reopened roads.
By Friday, it was raining again, heavy rain as much as 2 inches on top of the 4 inches of the day before.
And again people were evicted this time as a precautionary measure in Livingston Manor, where on Thursday the water was a foot deep on Main Street and for real in the Village of Jeffersonville.
A frustrated Mayor Ed Justus admitted Friday evening that few people had to take the village up on offers of a temporary home atop the village hall.
“They’re getting used to this,” he said, shaking his head, “most of them have found other places to go.”
Even as he celebrated the fact that his village fared substantially better this weekend than it did back in 2006 (or the floods before it in 2004 and 2005), Justus was practical. This keeps happening and it’s not good for his residents.
The water in a feeder stream to the Callicoon Creek was so furious Friday that it had ripped away all the land around the recently sold Blue Victorian, exposing the building’s foundation. It had eroded under the bridge, forcing the State Department of Transportation to shut down the road and make repairs. It had sent people from Jeffersonville’s island once again out of their homes.
Just down the road, Youngsville residents were bracing themselves for more disaster, with water threatening homes and businesses on two ends of town.
Youngsville Garage owner Scott Gaebel, who saw water flow straight through his business in 2006, picking up cars as it went, was busy all day putting up a neat sandbag barrier for water that fortunately never came.
He was relieved but cautiously so. Even three years later, Gaebel said it didn’t take much to spur him to take a serious approach to protecting his livelihood.
Even as the intersection of Shandelee Road and Route 52 was closed down just outside his garage, with a giant tree obstructing the flow of water, the worst of the aftermath was water in basements and some limited damage to buildings around town.
By Sunday, the busy fire department was no longer being called out to pump basements.
On the other end of Jeffersonville, Kohlertown, in the Town of Delaware, saw the worst of the storm as it continued through the weekend. Sunday’s heavy rain added to the headaches of residents who spent Saturday outdoors cleaning up muddy lawns and rippled pavement.
The township saw areas along the Callicoon Creek fill with water three times in five days.
And no wonder Delaware Highway Superintendent Bill Eschenberg estimated 9 inches of rain had fallen from Wednesday through Monday morning.
Although roads throughout the western part of the county were closed on Friday, most were open by Saturday.
County Manager Dave Fanslau declared a state of emergency for the towns of Callicoon, Delaware and Rockland which was backed up by State Senator John Bonacic requesting the state give the same status to the affected towns.
According to County Spokeswoman Alexis Eggleton, the call for several dry days this week leaves the county hopeful.