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Swollen brooks in Lake George flood homes and motels

Swollen brooks in Lake George flood homes and motels

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LAKE GEORGE -- The crown jewel of Warren County tourism will finish the summer season short dozens of hotel rooms as Lake George business owners worked to clean up the mess caused Sunday by Tropical Storm Irene before Labor Day weekend, while others worried about a lack of power for their last hurrah.

And towns in Warren County's mountainous northern tier are dealing with multiple road wash outs.

Numerous brooks flowing off of Prospect Mountain turned Lake George Village into river on Sunday, as Irene's rainfall pounded the region.

Several creek and hillside homes and motels sustained serious flood damage when English, West and Bradley Street brooks jumped their banks and roared down state Route 9.

"I'd say this side's done for the year," local hotelier Tim Kissane said on Monday of the 19 southern-most rooms at his Fran Cove Motel. "At least everybody's safe."

About 20 of Kissane's 40 rooms were flooded. Several of the rooms are now caked in mud as Kissane's friends, family and employees help carry drenched mattresses outside, wipe down waterlogged drawers and scrape several inches of sludge in the parking lot.

Kissane estimates the damage in the "many" thousands of dollars.

"Even after all of my years in the insurance business, I never even thought to get flood insurance," he said, adding that the property has never before flooded in the 40 years his family has owned it.

Several homes and hotels on the village's northern flank are in a similar state.

State Route 9 remained closed on Monday afternoon

as a swelling English Brook took down trees, power lines and guardrails on Sunday.

Most of the hotels were completely booked for the holiday weekend.

The entire village remained without electricity Monday afternoon, and much of the northern section is without water as a village water main was smashed when a county-owned bridge collapsed on Big Hollow Road and crushed the pipe below.

County, town and village crews were scattered throughout the community on Monday, clearing debris and sediment left behind by the flood.

Food in restaurant coolers continued to decay on Monday and hotels began turning away guests.

"We've turned two customers away already," said Marione Leombruno, owner of America's Best Value Inn, which was largely spared by the floods. "But we need power, especially before Labor Day. We have a wedding booked for this weekend."

National Grid officials said it could take days to restore power.

The Labor Day weekend is traditionally the final big weekend of Lake George's summer tourism season.

"If they (local businesses) lose the ability to bring people in for Labor Day weekend, they'll lose one of the biggest days of the summer," said village Mayor Bob Blais.

Three of the village-owned public docks were swept away as Irene raged. Several boats washed up on Million Dollar Beach. Blais said their point of origin is unknown.

Local meteorologists measured about 3.6 inches of rain in Glens Falls during the storm, but several weather-monitoring residents in the county's norther portion measured more than 5 inches of precipitation. Area meteorologists predicted before the storm more rain in higher elevations.

"I've never seen so much water," Blais said.

Blais said the state hasn't increased the size or number of water-diverting culverts since constructing the Northway or paving the top of Prospect Mountain in the mid 20th century.

"When you put all of these huge paved areas and don't widen the pipes, you're going to have some problems," Blais said.

The topography in the county's northern section resulted in numerous washouts, as water rushed down hills and mountains.

County Department of Public Works officials tagged the New Hague Road in Hague as the most damaged in Warren County. Flooding tore up a significant swath of the county road, and will require substantial reconstruction.

The Warrensburg Road in Stony Creek also sustained damage. A culvert failed on Warrensburg Road, officials said, ripping a 10-foot-wide hole across both lanes. Warrensburg Road was also the site of several other mud slides and minor washouts, officials said.

County DPW officials on site anticipated the Warrensburg Road would be reopened by Monday evening.

Thurman's already-tattered road system experienced some repeat damage, but town officials were relieved that patchwork repairs after May's flash floods didn't all


As of Monday afternoon, several Thurman residents on Dippikill were stranded for the second time this


"It's like spring all over again," Thurman Supervisor Evelyn Wood said of the stranded residents. "But this time it's without


Town highway crews worked on Monday to reopen Sky Hi Road and Shanagan Road. Bridges and culverts on the Glen Creek Road and Garnet Lake Road South sustained damage and will need repair.

Thurman officials hope all residents will have at least one path out of their homes by Tuesday.

Johnsburg Highway Superintendent Dan Hitchcock said the Glen Creek Road remained under water as of Monday afternoon, and a county bridge sustained damage.

Portions of Cleveland Road, Crane Mountain Road and Hudson Street washed out, Hitchcock said.

Two bridges on Potash Road in Lake Luzerne sustained heavy damage from rushing water.

The towns of Queensbury and Warrensburg, and the City of Glens Falls, saw significant tree fall during the storm, but sustained minimal long term damage to local infrastructure.

Dozens of busy intersections are without traffic lights because of the ongoing power outtages throughout the region. Local emergency officials said that when a traffic light is out, each intersection should be treated as a four-way stop.


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