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Irene Hammers Upstate NY and Vermont (Videos)

While major media outlets are busy wondering if they “overhyped” Hurricane Irene, people in Upstate NY and Vermont are trying to save their homes and towns from historic flooding.

Our hometown of Keene was not spared.

Reports of damage to our downtown “corner” sound awful, and this photo taken by someone earlier in the day shows just part of that flooding near where the East Branch of the Ausable River converges with two smaller brooks.

For those of you familiar with Keene, that photo shows the new Cedar Run building on Rt 73… near the ADK Cafe and the popular Dartbrook Rustic Furniture store. The flooding has affected several businesses, homes, and town buildings in that immediate area. We’ve heard that the fire house was also lost.

UPDATE: Here is a video news report from WPTZ (sorry, no way to embed it) that shows some of the flooding from earlier in the day:

Just down the road in Keene Valley there are reports of extensive flooding and evacuations being conducted via boats. Evacuations are apparently also happening in Ausable Forks, as the river flooded main street there.

In the Town of Jay there are reports of lost houses and washed out roads. Water levels are said to be nearing the bottom of Jay’s popular Covered Bridge.

Here is an image of that bridge in drier times, just to give you an idea of how high that water would have to be for this to happen.

But all of that being said, reports and news from Adirondack communities have been hard to come by tonight. This is in contrast to the steady flow of information coming out of Vermont and areas just south of the Park – often via social networks like Facebook and Twitter. My hope is that this means the flooding has been contained elsewhere in the Park, but I fear it means we will just be hearing about more damages tomorrow.

Speaking of Vermont, accounts of damages in that state have been terrible to read. Many areas are experiencing extreme flooding, and several of their historic covered bridges have been lost. Here is a dramatic video of one such bridge giving way. (caution, some language)

And here is a video of an emotional Jim Cantore, from the Weather Channel, talking about the situation in Vermont.

As for Jess and I… we are safe, and dry. But unfortunately, we are apart tonight. This week is our family vacation and Jess and the pups are up in Lake Placid at a vacation rental with our parents. They have been more or less trapped today by a tree that fell across the driveway, but it is a beautiful place to be stuck. Here is a photo of last night’s sunset that I took from the dock there.

At the time I wondered if this was the calm before the storm.

Had I only known…

I’ve spent the day at our house in Keene, and a good part of the afternoon was dedicated to digging trenches and otherwise trying to divert water around our property. The Internet has been down most of the night, and power has come and gone, but cell service has been steady (which is why I can do this post).

I have yet to see any of the major damage first hand, even though the worst of it is only several hundred yards down the road from me. But I’ve talked to friends and it does not sound good. Quite frankly, it breaks my heart.

My plan is to wake up at first light and see for myself and begin to reach out to neighbors and friends who may be in need of assistance.

I’ll try to update the site with news as I get it.

Be safe.


  1. catharus

    Thanks for passing on the news/videos. It certainly is a heart-wrenching event!

  2. Neil Cowley
    Neil Cowley08-29-2011

    We were one of the last cars to get through Keene E on 76, and were saddened to see the brook that became a river…thanks for your great local coverage…and best of luck getting cleaned up.

  3. Jenn

    I haven’t posted here before, but I have enjoyed reading about your adventures in the Adirondacks, which is my favorite region of NY. I wish you the best in the clean-up effort and am very glad that you are safe! It is terrible to see the damage…. Take care!

  4. Jessica

    Thanks for the support, everyone! Clean-up has begun. This is an amazing community.

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