Multiple towns across the Catskills region declared a state of emergency after flooding caused by thunderstorms, forcing the closure of a number of roads.
The National Weather Service issued a hazardous weather warning early Thursday morning for severe thunderstorms in central New York — followed by a flood warning at 8:57 a.m. for the Mohawk River at the Delta Dam.
Around 7:30 last night, amidst the heavy storm that flooded several areas of Schoharie County, police received a report of a husband, wife and cat trapped in their mobile home on South Gilboa road.
“Water was rising around their home and in ditches surrounding it,” Schoharie County Sheriff Tony Desmond said. “They couldn’t get out.”
Grand Gorge Fire Department’s rescue squad was sent out on the call but soon realized they weren’t able to get the couple out on their own, Desmond said, so they called in for assistance from other local departments from Schoharie and Delaware Counties.
By 10 p.m, the flood waters were receding enough for the team to get the man and wife out of the house. The cat stayed inside “because the loud noises and stormy weather would’ve scared it,” Desmond said.
Following their rescue, the couple was evaluated by the rescue squad and taken into the village of Grand Gorge and are now staying with relatives.
Other residents near South Gilboa road have also been evacuated. As of Thursday afternoon the road is closed from the “extensive damage” to the area including ditches and shoulders, Desmond said.
“[The road was] washed out, in some parts it took half the pavement.”
Schoharie County Highway Division Commissioner Dan Crandell said there was additional damage to lower Flat Creek road, with extensive wash-outs.”
Though the road is now open, Crandell urged people to drive with caution.
Crandell also said that traffic on Bull Hill road has been reduced to one lane due to damage.
In the town of Middleburgh, the back wall of a Main Street building crumbled last night Desmond said.
A new pet store, Fish Tales and Fur, at 330 Main St., had opened up shop in the older building just two weeks ago.
During the storm, shortly after 8 p.m., owners of the pet store Bob and Tina Czyszczon said they ran to the back of the store after they heard a loud clap and found the entire back wall of the brick building had collapsed — revealing only the frame.
Fire and police arrived on the scene and instructed the owners of the store and tenants in the apartments above to evacuate.
Desmond said no one was near that side of the building or the back wall at the time of the damage; neither people nor any of the store’s animals were hurt.
The Czyszczon's said last night they removed all the animals from the store and took them to stay in the homes of nearby friends.
Tina said Schoharie County engineers arrived Thursday afternoon and deemed the building was structurally sound — that tenants could move back in, with the exception of those in the back apartments because they are now without fire escapes.
Owners of the shop were in the process of moving animals back into the store Thursday afternoon, and said they plan to be open Friday.
According to Dallis Wright, of the Delaware County Department of Emergency Services, the towns of Andes, Hancock and Colchester were the hardest hit in Delaware county, with the latter two declareing a state of emergency last night.
The Town of Hancock has lifted their state of emergency while Colchester’s remains in effect.
According the Wright, the following roads in the County are closed: Upper Dingle Hill Road, Lower Dingle Hill Road, Little Dingle Hill Road, Bush Kill Road, Campbell Brook Road and Campbell Mountain Road.
She added that there are washouts on Hammer Hollow Road and Miller, and while they are open, drivers are warned to take caution.
*Additional reporting done by Katherine Speller