Not even a week has gone by and Henry Street resident Melissa Dunham is right back where she started.
Pumping out her basement. Cleaning up sludge.
“It’s so surreal. I can’t believe it’s happening again,” said Dunham, who has lived at 106 Henry St. for 10 years. “What’s next? Do you pack up your house? Do we leave forever? It’s very, very frustrating.”
Dunham was just one of many residents from Oneida to Herkimer returning to cleanup mode Tuesday after more heavy rain doused the Mohawk Valley late Monday. And more rain continued to fall throughout the area Tuesday.
State Department of Transportation and Herkimer village crews were scattered throughout the area retracing their steps after tributaries that they’d just cleaned from Friday’s floods were again riddled with sediment and fallen trees.
“From the first event … we were able to get all of our small runoff streams and tributaries cleaned out; we made some ponding areas and what have you,” Herkimer Village Street Superintendent Peter Marci said. “We were making headway and (Monday’s rain) put us back to square one.”
While officials across the Mohawk Valley hope for a day to dry out and get back on track, WKTV Meteorologist Adam Musyt said the wet weather isn’t finished.
A stagnate weather pattern has made the drying out process a slow one, he said, and isn’t expected to end until the weekend.
“The next few afternoons we have the chance for some downpours,” he said. “If you get an inch of rain in three hours it will add to flash flooding again because the ground is so saturated and the water table is so high.”
State Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday that he directed state Commissioner Joe Martens and the Department of Environmental Conservation to issue an Emergency Declaration to authorize immediate work in 23 counties impacted by heavy rains and flooding due to severe storms this past week.
Cuomo also has called on President Obama to declare the region a major disaster.
Herkimer Fire Deputy Chief Jim Woodrick said about 75 homeowners called to get their basements pumped from Monday night’s storm.
“We can take it from feet to inches, after that, it’s up to the homeowner,” he explained, adding that over the weekend they received more than 300 calls.
Now, Woodrick said officials are watching the weather closely and preparing for any possibility of more heavy rain.
“When the rain hits, we know where it’s going to hit,” he said. “It’s helped us prepare for what we already experienced.”
Herkimer’s street superintendent said crews also are creating channels on roads ahead of time to reroute rushing water. Macri said they’ve also created a concrete interlocking barrier on the Church Street bridge to guide the water.
Page 2 of 2 - “That way if it does indeed go over … it stays in the path of the creek,” he said.
Close to 100 National Grid officials have been on the ground in Herkimer and the city of Oneida helping residents make strides to restore their power and gas services the last few days.
About 1,700 customers from Ilion, Mohawk, Herkimer and Oneida on Monday were without gas services and about 700 were without electric.
Thanks to improved infrastructure, company president Ken Daly said they were able to restore the services to the Mohawk Valley.
“Unfortunately, there are many, many customers who are unable to connect,” he said.
Daly said the company has been offering a rebate to cover inspections on new equipment that has been replaced because of flood damage.
At this time, officials said this is a one per household rebate, and it would have to be looked at again if a household was to be flooded twice.
Dunham said the electrical box they replaced from Friday’s floods was inches away from being washed out again Tuesday.
It could not be learned whether Dunham was taking advantage of the rebate. She said they are waiting for Federal Emergency Management Agency assistance.
“We’re not a flood zone, so nothing is covered,” she said. “Once the rain comes, the panic starts.”