Houses were destroyed, roads were washed out and lives were lost when Tropical Storm Irene barreled through upstate New York.
As hard as it is to believe, it will happen again and may be worse the next time.
That was just one of the messages from members of the Onesquethaw-Coeymans Watershed Council, who sponsored a meeting Wednesday, Nov. 30, at the CSX Auditorium in Selkirk.
The council examines issues along the Onesquethaw and Coeymans creeks and throughout the watershed, which runs through New Scotland, Bethlehem, Coeymans and Ravena.
One of the goals of the meeting was to hear from area residents who felt the impacts of the once-in-a-lifetime flooding.
David Coe of Glenmont attended the meeting on behalf of his sister and her husband, who live along Old Ravena Road in the Selkirk area and sustained damage to their more than 200-year-old home.
“The water came up exactly to the first floor level,” said Coe. “They were extremely lucky it didn’t come in any higher than that, just a little bit of leakage inside the house. It totally flooded out the basement. There were trees in the basement, and it blew out some windows.”
Coe said once the Coeymans Creek filled up, the water changed course in a matter of a “couple of minutes” and took aim at his sister’s home. He explained what it’s taken for the family to get the house back in order.
“It took about two months of volunteer effort with family and friends to put that back together again, just in time for winter,” said Coe. “They moved most of their equipment and cars up to high ground, so that was ok.”
New Scotland Supervisor Thomas Dolin attended the meeting as a town official and also a citizen “interested in the preservation and restoration of the creek.” Dolin said damages from the storm could approach $1.5 million just for New Scotland.