Albany streets, neighborhoods inundated with flood waters

Updated: 08/06/2014 11:59 AM
Created: 08/06/2014 12:05 AM WNYT.com
By: Dan Levy

ALBANY - Albany streets were overwhelmed by flood water Tuesday night. Homes were evacuated, property destroyed, and angry resident left in the wake.

By 9:30 p.m. the American Red Cross had opened up an emergency shelter at the Harriet Meyers Middle School.

The trouble began late in the afternoon when rain deluge, a summer weather phenomenon that turns an urban landscape into an ugly and inconvenient seascape, occurred.

Flash flooding that overwhelms Albany's century-old sewer system, often turns into stagnant water on the streets, or even worse, in the basement apartments of those unlucky enough to live in low-lying neighborhoods -- Elberon Place, for example.

"I've been living here eight years and every year it gets w little worse," said Daniel Ibarra. "When I first moved here, the second day I lived here, I got flooded. I had water up to my knees."

Since Kelly Longwitz lives in a third floor apartment, her personal belongings are safe. Unfortunately, the same thing can't be said about her two cars in the parking lot below.

"I looked out here and (flood water) was about halfway (up on the cars) and I thought it was fine," she said. "Then I went up front and we were looking out the front window and when I came back, (the cars) were done. Within ten minutes it just rose very high."

Beyond the human toll, there are also devastating commercial consequences. Asaf Elkayam spent Tuesday night surveying damage to his buildings and properties on Elberon Place. Inside many of his newly refurbished apartments, he found household items flooded through rooms and hallways.

"Damage is in the hundreds of thousands of dollars," Elkayam said. "I probably lost about 15 boilers, 15 hot water tanks and six apartments."

Asaf says the city has tried in the past to alleviate the problem, however pointing to Tuesday night's flooding, is now suggesting they probably didn't do it right the first time.

"I think it's more of a malfunction of the city plumbing and drainage," he said. "This backed up from the basement up, it didn't come from the street down."


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