With Storms Destroying Roads And Bridges, Schumer Urges State To Declare Counties Across Upstate Disaster Areas
Severe Damage in Broome, Cayuga, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, Genesee, Greene, Madison, Orange, Schenectady, Schoharie, Sullivan, Tioga, And Ulster CountiesCleanup of roads, culverts, bridges, ditches, and streams after the weekend's storms are costing counties millions of dollarsSchumer pushes State to declare disaster, the first step needed to qualify the area for millions in federal disaster relief
In the wake of last weekend's severe thunderstorms and subsequent flooding, US Senator Charles E. Schumer today urged Governor George Pataki to declare Broome, Cayuga, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, Genesee, Greene, Madison, Orange, Schenectady, Schoharie, Sullivan, Tioga, and Ulster counties emergency areas and to apply for federal assistance. The damage to bridges, roads, and other infrastructure in Delaware County alone are estimated to be at least $3.4 million. Since the majority of the storm damage occurred only days ago, the water has yet to recede, and many municipalities cannot yet begin to assess damage totals.
Times have been hard enough for the local governments in these counties, Schumer said. And now for these communities to shoulder additional unforseen expenses is just too much to bear, Schumer said. No one can account for natural disasters, and these local governments deserve help. When you talk with people affected by this storm, it becomes obvious very quickly that the State and the feds should both be chipping in to deal with this disaster.
Thunder storms that ripped though the area last weekend yielded many inches of rainfall in just two days. Broome, Cayuga, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, Genesee, Greene, Madison, Orange, Schenectady, Schoharie, Sullivan, Tioga, and Ulster counties sustained the most severe damage as a result of wind and floods. These counties now face repairs and restoration of numerous roads, culverts, bridges, ditches, and streams.
In Broome County, the highest river levels were reached in almost 70 years which closed many roads and drove hundreds of residents from their homes. Properties all across the region have been impacted, including the EnJoie Golf Club in Endicott, home of the B.C Open. The course is already in disrepair in the wake of the hurricanes that ravaged much of the country last September. This flooding will delay repairs and present new challenges as officials strive to keep the course in top PGA caliber condition to retain the B.C Open.
It's no secret that the B.C. Open plays a vital role to the economy of the Greater Binghamton Area and big source of tourism revenue, Schumer said. With the tournament only three months away, we need to pull out all the stops to repair the damage. To put it bluntly, we need assistance to get things back in working condition, and we need it fast.
Large areas of the western Hudson Valley, including substantial portions of Ulster, Orange and Sullivan Counties, were hit by the heaviest flooding in decades as the Delaware, Esopus, Roundout and Walkill Rivers overflowed, some cresting substantially above flood stage, and many smaller streams flooded as well. Thousands of people were evacuated, forced to abandon their homes and belongings to escape the rising water and swift currents. More than 1,000 were displaced in the Town of Deer Park alone. The black dirt farming region in Orange County was inundated when the Walkill River overflowed its banks. Many buildings in the City of Port Jervis were covered in water.
Schumer urged the State to declare the region a disaster area, saying that doing so is a prerequisite for obtaining FEMA funds. Once the State has declared the area a disaster, and submitted an application for federal funds, FEMA will determine if the area is eligible for funds and how much relief it will get.
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