Hurricane Irene remembered six years later

August 27, 2017 07:52 PM

SCHOHARIE -- When Ken Kio and his wife saw their now current house in the village, they fell in love with both.

"I called the owners and I said, 'Here's my offer," Kio said.

Kio, newly retired from the Army, got a job offer locally. The couple sold their house and got the one they have now for cheap.

"She called me back in about 10 minutes and she said, 'We'll take it," Kio said.

Everything just seemed to fall into place perfectly. That was until six years ago this month when the flood sirens went off.

"I got to be honest. I've never been through a flood," Kio said. "I don't like to have to clean up, but you have to tear the entire house apart literally."

Kio never thought the water would rise to his first floor windows three-quarters of a mile away from the creek. But it did.

People were evacuated. The Gilboa Dam almost failed. Trailers were flattened, churches were destroyed, and roads were all but wiped away.

Over a foot of rain fell in the Schoharie Valley during Hurricane Irene. Hurricane Harvey could bring feet of rain to Texas.

"God bless them, because it's nothing I wouldn't wish upon anyone," said business owner John Wolfe.

There's good news six years later. Wolfe gutted a Main Street property and opened a laundromat. Business is slowly coming back.

Wolfe's real pride is the firehouse. The new $6.7 million facility is going up after the old one had to be demolished.

Homes came back faster than businesses. Kio restored the entire 1902 house himself. But there were things he couldn't put back together.

"Pictures of my kids when they were [young] and those are gone," Kio said. "That hurt me more than losing that Mustang, which hurt a lot."

That's Kio's advice to Texas -- grab what's important, and get ready for your life to change.

Six years after the flood, he doesn't think it'll happen again, but knows it can. And still, it's worth the risk to live in a place he loves.

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WNYT Staff

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