By Frank Rizzo and Kathy Daley
SULLIVAN COUNTY Flash flood warnings, and flood warnings and watches were issued yesterday as Sullivan County dealt with the heavy rains associated with the remnants of Hurricane Lee.
The Neversink River above Bridgeville and the Delaware River near Barryville were both under flood warning, and the Beaverkill River above Roscoe was expected to flood.
Watches are issued when flooding is possible or expected within 1248 hours, and warnings are issued when flooding over a large area or river flooding is imminent or occurring.
The Delaware River gauge at Callicoon was expected to crest at slightly over 14 feet yesterday afternoon, two feet above flood stage. The Barryville gauge was expected to show the river reaching a crest of 18.6 feet early Friday morning. Flood stage there is 17 feet.
Once again, neighboring counties experienced heavy damage, with record crests of the Susquehanna River in Binghamton (where 20,000 were evacuated) and elsewhere. Governor Cuomo directed state emergency resources to the Southern Tier and surrounding counties and requested emergency and major disaster declarations from the federal government, in response to the severe flash flooding and major flood conditions, including Sullivan County .
In Jeffersonville on Wednesday morning, water from Callicoon Creek had shot up five feet and was pouring over the bridge on Route 52 in Jeffersonville across from the Sunoco gas station, said Mayor Ed Justus and Fire Chief John Hauschild.
Hauschild said that was one of a number of spots in the village where clogged debris worsened the flooding.
At 4 a.m., residents of “the island” the small community closest to the creek and others frightened for their homes began gathering on Jeffersonville’s commercial stretch.
Gus Kabakci, who runs Ted’s Restaurant, said “Yes!” when his son, Victor, suggested the family unlock the doors to the luncheonette three hours earlier than their typical 7 a.m. opening. Victor began serving free coffee to anyone who wanted it.
“My son told me that Jeffersonville was so crowded at 4 a.m. that it looked like a city,” said Gus, noting that Victor lives above the restaurant.
Meanwhile, Jeff firemen were dealing with another reality that nearby Kohlertown was completely flooded from North Branch Road to the “horsetrack” across from the Murphy funeral home. “Lower Kohlertown was all under water,” said Chief Hauschild.
Later in the morning, firemen began helping residents pump out basements but the water was running back in as fast as the men were pumping it out.