Flooding leaves its mark on the landscape

Above: A section of Opus 40 in Saugerties that was damaged in heavy rains on September 18. Photo by Tad Richards.

On September 18, heavy rains swept across the region, causing widespread electrical outages and severe flooding in several Catskills towns. It's an all-too-familiar drill for many local residents.

The Sullivan County hamlet of Livingston Manor probably bore the brunt of the flooding -- and got its fair share of news coverage. But elsewhere in the Catskills, last week's floods left scars on the landscape.

"Another year, another flood" -- that's the word in the tiny Ulster County town of Denning, which had barely finished rebuilding from Irene's devastations when flooding hit it again last week.

The Denning Denizen, a local blog, is looking for photos of flood damage. Below is one they published on their blog yesterday:

This one, courtesy of Carl Landon, shows a section of Frost Valley Road, newly rebuilt from last year’s flood, dissolved and washed away (again) as if it were just sand on a beach.

In Youngsville, a hamlet of the Sullivan County town of Callicoon, the Panther Brook Creek cut a new channel across a few residents' backyards, the Sullivan County Democrat reports:

The Porters and Meyerers had extensive work done to the creekbank between October and November of last year, splitting the cost. Mary Lou [Porter] explained, “There was a lot of debris in the brook left over from Hurricane Irene, like large rocks, trees and a lot of other stuff we had removed. We also had the banks shored-up with gravel.

“I was sick when I woke up and saw this in the morning, sick and very upset. Everybody was upset but Ethel [Meyerer] was devastated,” Porter added. “It was so disheartening and your hope just really gives way. After all that work we thought we had the brook fixed. It’s just too much.”

The Ulster County town of Saugerties didn't fare too badly in the storms. But a beloved local landmark, the huge bluestone sculpture known as Opus 40, was damaged by the heavy rains. Owner Tad Richards, stepson of the sculptor Harvey Fite, has published several photos of the damage to Opus 40's Facebook wall.

The spot that was damaged has a dark history, Richards writes:

This is, ironically, the exact spot where Harvey Fite died, 36 years ago, in a fall while working on his life's dream.

Richards has established a fund for donations to help rebuild the wall, which will have to be painstakingly put back together by a craftsman skilled in the dry-key mortarless technique Fite used to build Opus 40.

Correction, 9/26: An earlier draft of this post put the town of Denning in Sullivan County. It's in Ulster. Our mistake.