Historic Ulster County Flooding Poses Biggest Challenge In Wake of Hurricane Irene
by Dylan Taft
on Tuesday, August 30th, 2011 at 4:02pm.
Though it may look pretty bad, UlsterCounty will recover. As expected, Hurricane Irene caused extensive flooding, power outages and knocked down many trees. UlsterCounty officials are still assessing the extent of the damage, but all it takes is a short drive around the neighborhood for the impact of Irene on some UlsterCounty homes to become painfully apparent. However in spite of the destruction, the general feeling is that we were prepared and have fared well. Innovations like social media rose to the occasion and assumed an important role in providing a means for communication amidst a blackout. Our area has proven to be resourceful enough to withstand what County Executive Michael Hein called, “The worst natural disaster in UlsterCounty’s history.”
Ulster Among the Hardest Hit Counties
As of today 34,000 customers of Central Hudson remain without power. The utility has reported that extensive flooding has made it difficult for crews to reach affected areas. New York State Governor Mario Cuomo reported that Ulster County was one of the 3 hardest hit counties in the state. Most all of the creeks and rivers in the area crested well above their flood stage, causing road closures throughout UlsterCounty, including the NYS Thruway, and in some cases washing away entire bridges. Damage was localized and differed greatly from town to town, even street to street. Ulster county real estate varies in topography, having many low-land, valley, and creek-level areas, as well as homes situated on high vistas that experience no flooding whatsoever. Farms were especially hard hit, suffering damage to crops that were labored over during an already harsh 2011 season. We encourage everyone to support local farms and businesses whenever possible, and if there ever was a time to buy local it’s now.
Central Hudson is also warning of the potential instability of underground pipelines. Any gas odors should be reported via the Utilities Gas Odor Hotline @ 1-800-942-8274 or contacted through www.fb.com/centralhudson. Bottled water and dry ice are being distributed at the following 3 locations: In Ellenville – The Village Hall on 81 North Main Street, Ellenville, NY 12428, In the Town of Ulster – Ulster Grace Community Evangelical Church on 160 Seremma Court, In Lake Katrine – 2001 Route 9W (1 mile north of Adam’s Fair Acre Farms) Lake Katrine, NY 12449 .
Pulling Together & Patience…
We here at Taft Street predict a 2–3 month storm recovery reriod for the overall local economy including the housing market, local retail businesses, and agricultural sector. Expect pending home sales to decline during this time period, as well as a dip in new construction starts. It’s not all bad news however! Thankfully, there’s been a calm after the storm in the form of perfect weather, which has allowed flooded waterways to recede and crews to continue their hard work. Communities have pulled together and emergency shelters have been established in Kingston, Highmount, Kerhonkson, and New Paltz.
Constant media coverage of Irene stole the spotlight from very affordable home prices and historic low interest rates, which continue to spur savvy purchasers off the fence during an ideal buying opportunity. If your home has suffered damage, be sure to photograph and document both the damages, and repairs being done, and contact your insurance company as soon as possible. Most of all, we encourage everyone to practice a little extra patience and rest assure that UlsterCounty will no doubt recover from Hurricane Irene!