Thunderstorm floods submerge homeowners, businesses

Posted at: 05/22/2013 11:38 PM
By: Dan Levy

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PATTERSONVILLE - Many Capital Region residents were drying out on Wednesday night after powerful thunderstorms created flash flooding that encroached into their homes and businesses.

In Pattersonville, in western Schenectady County, Susan Feidner's property on Route 5S is far enough from the Mohawk River not to need flood insurance, but unfortunately it's too close to a backyard culvert overwhelmed by an afternoon deluge.

The result was two feet of water in Susan Feidner's basement.

"It was probably 2:30 or 3:00 and I realized something wasn't right," said Feidner. "I could hear the water. The rain was down pouring. I had a bad feeling. It's not the first time this has happened."

Just around the corner, on Scotch Church Road, Garrett Cowsert was a victim of the same over-matched culvert, where a bulldozer had to clear dislodged boulders and mud from his property.

"Previously, underneath the Thruway bridge, the culvert pipe is plugged up and it blew out all the ditches," Cowert said. "The state or the county -- I'm not sure who -- did a bunch of repair work and fixed quite a bit of that but obviously it doesn't quite fix it enough yet."

Further east, in Rotterdam, High Bridge Road became high water road, which meant Jim Smith's pizzeria parking lot turned into a shallow lake.

"It happens when ever we get a downpour," Smith says.

High Bridge Pizza has been in business for 55 years, for the last fifteen or so, Jim jokes, it feels like he owns lakefront property. The problem is: his customers can't climb into a boat to get there.

"We lose money every time it rains like this," Smith says, "People can't pick up food. I still have to pay employees who've been here all day. Tonight we'll probably lose several hundred bucks in business. (If it were to happen on) Friday or Saturday, it's enough to kill the whole week."

Even though Tropical Storm Irene, two years ago, didn't affect any of the home owners or businesses in this story, Wednesday's thunderstorms clearly did have an impact.

All of these people expect future problems whenever there's heavy rainfall if something isn't done to fix the culverts that they believe will continue to keep them on the edge of vulnerability.



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