North end flooding still a concern

B y Derek Liebig

The state of flooding in the village’s north end has improved since last week, but remains a concern for residents who live along the canal and Lake Champlain.

Several residents reported that water levels had dropped about a foot by the end of last week, but had subsequently gone back up with the wet, rainy weather over the weekend and beginning of this week.

“I checked yesterday, and it looks like they came up a little bit,” said Supervisor Richard “Geezer” Gordon. But as long as the winds don’t kick up, I think we should be alright.”

A quick survey of properties midday Monday revealed water levels had receded since the beginning of last week, perhaps as much as a foot.

Charlene Bessetts’ property along North Williams Street was completely submerged under water last week, but the top potion of her swimming pool was visible for the first time in over a week.

However by Tuesday morning, the pool appeared to be completely under water once again after heavy rain came through the area Monday.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, water levels on the lake increased six inches between Saturday and Tuesday.

“Everything that left, came back again,” Mayor Peter Telisky said during Tuesday’s village board meeting.

The flood warning that has been in effect in communities surrounding the lake, remains in effect marking the third consective week it has been active.

The National Weather Service in Burlington reported water levels of 102.2 feet earlier this week, more than two feet higher than the flood level.

They estimate water levels could rise as high as 102.5 feet in the coming days in light of a forecast that is calling for periods of moderate rain and isolated thunderstorms through Sunday.

Even if levels do reach that mark, it’s still an improvement, albeit a slight one, compared to water levels last weekend that reached 103 feet, the highest recorded level in more than 140 years.

The biggest threat to area residents at this point remains the wind.

“If the north wind doesn’t blow, we’ll be alright,” supervisor of public works Donald Williams.

Last week, Bill Cook, Washington County director of Public Safety compared the lake to a large bath tub explaining that when winds blow north to south across the lake, water spills out in the south.

“The water just has no place to go,” Cook said.
Cook and officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and state Emergency Management Office were in the village Tuesday assessing the damage to local properties.

It’s unclear whether any assistance, financial or otherwise, will be provided to village residents by either agency, but village officials plan to pursue any options that may be available to them.

“We just don’t, but we are following it,” said Telisky.

Village officials plan to see if anything may be available through the department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) or FEMA, however in some occassions in order to be considered for assistance, an area has to be officially declared a diaster area.

One of the biggest concerns is what to do with all the debris after waters finally recede.

The village is considering the option of using village trucks and offering curb side pick-up of trash but nothing has been decided as of yet.

When residents will actually have a chance to clean their property is still very much in the air.

It could take upwards of two weeks or longer for water levels to drop under ideal conditions.

That’s little solace for residents who have been dealing with flooded basements for more than three weeks, the longest many have had to deal with flooding.

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