Hurricane Irene

The Watershed Post's collected Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene coverage

On Saturday, August 27, 2011 the Watershed Post launched its coverage of Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene and its expected impact on the Catskills region of upstate New York. Below is the text of our homepage as it appeared throughout the Catskills flooding and its aftermath. Our coverage included a town-by-town list of damage, an interactive spreadsheet for tracking people stranded by the storm, a spreadsheet tracking relief resources for flood victims, a map of road closures updated by a volunteer GIS expert, and a live blog that allowed anyone on the site to post a question or information in realtime as the storm hit.

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The Watershed Post's Flood Relief Resources

Updated 10/3/11:

On Saturday, August 27, 2011, the aftermath of Hurricane Irene brought devastating flooding to the Catskills. The Watershed Post is keeping track of relief resources and information on this page and in Google Document spreadsheets, which are linked from this page. Please help us keep things up-to-date by emailing [email protected] with "Relief Resource" in the subject line. To see our full coverage of Hurricane/Tropical storms Irene and Lee , including the now-archived Hurricane Irene live blog, click here. Click here to see Our town-by-town coverage of the storms.

Our Catskill Flooding spreadsheet: Donation and relief centers (click here to open):

  This spreadsheet, which you can open in a separate window by clicking here, is a list of volunteer opportunities and places to give money.

Federal Disaster Relief info:

FEMA New York Hurricane Irene info 

FEMA disaster assistance website: Call (800) 621-3362 or TTY (800) 462-7585 to apply for assistance.

Delaware County Emergency Services disaster guide

FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers in the Catskills:

Greene County
Prattsville Town Hall
14517 Route 23 Main Street, 
Prattsville, NY 12468

Schoharie County
Holiday Inn Express
160 Holiday Way, 
Schoharie, NY 12157

Ulster County
Business Resource Center
1061 Development Court, Ulster Avenue, 
Kingston, NY 12401

  Read more

Town-by-town Hurricane Irene news roundup

Town-by-town information, sorted by county:

Ulster County

Shandaken:

Mount Tremper

Phoenicia

Big Indian

Oliverea

Olive

- Boiceville

Delaware County

Middletown:

- Arkville

- Margaretville

- Fleischmanns

Roxbury

Walton

Delhi

Colchester (Downsville)

Delancey/Hamden

Sullivan County

Rockland (Roscoe and Livingston Manor)

Greene County

Windham

Jewett

- East Jewett

Halcott

Prattsville

Tannersville

Catskill (Palenville)

Lexington

Durham

Schoharie County

Fulton (Breakabeen)

Gilboa

Middleburgh

Blenheim

Esperance

Schoharie

Albany County

Preston Hollow

Our fastest source for breaking Catskills news is our CoverItLive group liveblog, which is staffed by a crack team of citizen and pro reporters from around the Catskills, and is also pulling from a variety of news sources via Twitter. If we lose power here, we won't be able to update this post, but the liveblog will roll on.  Read more

The unfinished business of recovery: Schoharie Valley five years after Irene

Above: A widely-circulated photo of the flooded Schoharie Valley during Tropical Storm Irene in 2011, as seen from the top of the cliffs of Vroman’s Nose. Photo by Amy Colyer Fogerty.

The air was perfectly calm in the late hours of Saturday, August 27, 2011. A hurricane was heading north up the East Coast, with forecasters saying that there was a chance that the storm would push inland in New York and impact the Catskills region.

It had been raining heavily for weeks, and the creeks were swollen. So, too, was the Gilboa Dam, which holds back 19.6 billion gallons of drinking water bound for New York City in a reservoir on the Schoharie Creek. Within 24 hours of that calm Saturday evening, all of the Schoharie Valley was forever changed.

This article is part of our series of stories commemorating the five-year anniversary of Tropical Storm Irene in the Catskills.  

When the floodwaters caused by Tropical Storm Irene came rushing down the Schoharie Creek five years ago on Sunday, August 28, 2011, the communities that line the Schoharie Creek in the Schoharie Valley were inundated.

Thousands of acres of farmland, hundreds of homes and dozens of businesses were destroyed in a single day. The rising waters of the creek washed the historic Blenheim Covered Bridge off of its abutments and completely obliterated the first floor of the county jail. 

Everything located on the valley’s fertile floor was caught in the devastation, as the floodwaters turned the banks of the creek into a miles-long path of debris and destruction.

The flood forced the Schoharie Valley into a state of prolonged recovery, which has taken many different forms over the past five years.

Today, signs of damage caused by the flood are still visible across the county. But there are also many signs of resilience.

For some communities, recovery has meant paving roads and fixing houses. In others, recovery has meant revitalizing downtown districts and inviting new businesses to move in. 

Progress is evident at every turn you take in the Schoharie Valley, but so is the unfinished business of recovery.

Reminders of disaster; signs of recovery

The village of Middleburgh, which saw its Main Street covered in water and mud during the flood, now stands as the crown jewel of the Schoharie Valley’s recovery.

Business that survived the flooding on Main Street Middleburgh, such as the Conglomerate and Hubie's Pizzeria, have reopened, while new shops, such as the Green Wolf Brewing Company brewpub and the Green Iguana restaurant, have appeared, along with new murals and floral plantings, the results of a recent beautification efforts.

Above: Since the flood, the village of Middleburgh has enjoyed a renaissance, with new businesses, like the Green Wolf Brewing Company, opening on Main Street. Photo by Timothy Knight.

Down the road, the village of Schoharie, where dozens of homes were permanently destroyed by the flood, is regaining its footing more slowly.

On one side of Schoharie's busy Main Street is the county office building, which is currently under construction in response to Irene. Officials are installing a floodgate as a preventive measure against future flooding

Across the street, many buildings sit empty, with some still displaying notices that they are unfit for human occupancy.

Above: A fraying 2013 notice in the window of a building on Main Street in the village of Schoharie stating that the structure is unfit for human occupancy. Photo by Timothy Knight.

But thanks to the work of flood organizations such as Schoharie Area Long Term (SALT), Schoharie Recovery and the Schoharie Promotional Association, the village has again reached a sense of normalcy.

That feeling extends throughout the Schoharie Valley. The town of Fulton’s fertile soils are teeming with life and growth, where five years ago they were covered with water, as captured in a widely-circulated photo taken from the cliffs of Vroman’s Nose during the flood. (See the top of this story.)  Read more

Four years after the flood, Schoharie officers still stuck in FEMA trailer

Above: The FEMA trailer that has housed the Schoharie County Corrections Office since Tropical Storm Irene flooded the Catskills in August 2011. FEMA trailers are intended to serve as temporary housing for up to 18 months. Photo by Timothy Knight.

It’s been over four years since Hurricane Irene inundated communities across Schoharie County, and many of the flood-damaged businesses and homes have been rebuilt.

But the Schoharie County Corrections Office is still housed in a dilapidated FEMA trailer with a portable outhouse for a bathroom.

During the August 2011 hurricane, the county's Public Safety Facility, located in the village of Schoharie, was ravaged by raging floodwaters. The county jail in the first floor of the complex was completely destroyed.

Most of the staff of the Schoharie County Sheriff's Office was moved to the relatively undamaged second floor, but the corrections department were put in a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) trailer in the parking lot.  Read more

Prattsville remembers Irene anniversary with MudFest

Above: The 2014 MudFest in Prattsville. Photo via the MudFest Facebook page. 

It was four years ago today that Tropical Storm Irene flooded towns across the Catskills. The Greene County town of Prattsville, which saw much of its Main Street swept away by muddy water, commemorates the anniversary with the Prattsville MudFest, a celebration of mud and survival. 

MudFest begins tonight with live music, a performance of the Calico Indian Showdown and fireworks on the Prattsville town green. The fun spills into a daylong festival tomorrow that features a "human foosball table" and an impressive muddy obstacle course lined with challenges such as "the rotten log" and "the bale jump."   Read more

Three years since Irene

Above: Bill Lonecke with his wife, Barbara (left), and daughter, Cindy (right), standing where their Maplecrest house used to be. It was washed away during Tropical Storm Irene by the Batavia Kill, which is 50 yards away to the right. Photo by Christopher Auger-Domínguez. Read their story in our Faces of the Flood Project, here. 

If you're anything like us here at the Watershed Post, anniversaries sneak up on you.

Three years ago today, Tropical Storm Irene blasted the Catskills with intense flooding, killing several local people and washing away homes and businesses in towns across our region.   Read more

How will you spend $3 million in flood money?

Above: A house near Schoharie, NY after Irene in 2011. Photo by fixBuffalo, via the Watershed Post Flickr pool

Communities across the Catskills have a shot at $3 million each to help them rebuild after the ravages of Hurricanes Sandy and Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. This month, they are all holding public meetings to ask their residents how they should spend it. (See below for dates and times.) 

The funding comes from the New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program, launched by Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2013. The progam earmarks $750 million in state and federal disaster funds for 102 "severely damaged" communities across the state. 

The severely damaged Catskills communities, according to the governor's list, are:  Read more

Prattsville's MudFest is back, dirtier than ever

Prattsville is the new Woodstock. Above: A scene from the first MudFest, held August 25-26, 2012. Photo from MudFest's Facebook page.

We will pick up the pieces 
Shattered of memories on the ground
We don't know how to give up
Hell yes we're going to rebuild our town
  - Thirteen for Life, "You Gotta Love This Town"

This Friday and Saturday, everybody’s invited to get down and dirty in Prattsville, as the town celebrates its second annual MudFest: proof positive that from catastrophe can come sheer awesome.  Read more

MudFest

August 23, 2013 - 4:00pm

It’s back!!  Residents of Prattsville invite one and all to the 2nd Annual MudFest on Friday and Saturday, August 23rd & 24th, 2013.  Come celebrate Prattsville's community resilience and continued rebuilding 2 years after Hurricane Irene! 

On Aug. 28, 2011, the people of Prattsville, NY were confronted with lots and lots of mud as a result of the flooding from Hurricane Irene.  It wasn’t too long afterward that they vowed to create MudFest:  A celebration of the the town’s spirit and determination to come back from the brink of destruction…by embracing and celebrating all that mud.  This year’s event will be held on Friday, August 23, 4pm-10pm & Saturday, August 24, 9am-11pm. 

Friday, gather with old and new friends at a play by local children and a water blessing ceremony, then gather with good food and good music provided by ‘Deadwood’, then enjoy the fireworks at 9pm.   Read more


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