Above: Bill Lonecke with his wife, Barbara (left), and daughter, Cindy (right), standing where their Maplecrest house used to be. It was washed away during Tropical Storm Irene by the Batavia Kill, which is 50 yards away to the right. Photo by Christopher Auger-Domínguez. Read their story in our Faces of the Flood Project, here.
If you're anything like us here at the Watershed Post, anniversaries sneak up on you.
Three years ago today, Tropical Storm Irene blasted the Catskills with intense flooding, killing several local people and washing away homes and businesses in towns across our region.
We are still humbled by how our community came together during the disaster to help neighbors and to help us cover the storm. Our collected coverage from the flood, including the archive of a 13-day liveblog that was staffed by volunteers night and day, is available here.
Recovery has been a long road. Time Warner Cable has a story about recovery in the town of Prattsville today:
As they rebuild this little town along Route 23, the goal in Prattsville remains the same: learning how to look back with understanding, but move forward with dignity.
Which is not easy.
"No, it's, it's certainly not. The flood unfortunately resulted, and the aftermath resulted in a lot of divisiveness in the town," said Rikard.
As town judge, [Dave] Rikard knows about the various lawsuits and legal actions taken against different town factions.
"Gotta move on, you know? You can't be waiting and waiting in line for a hand-out forever, you know?" said Rikard.
Also today, the Schoharie Area Long Term (SALT) Recovery group is commemorating the anniversary with a press conference at the Blenheim Community Center in the town of Blenheim at 11 a.m:
Badly flood-damaged in 2011 when its signature landmark and tourist attraction, the Blenheim Bridge, was swept away, Blenheim has shown remarkable spirit and achieved much, even as community members plan more. The United Methodist Church and the Blenheim Community Center are two examples of this. The church lost two buildings one of which housed a thrift shop. To meet pressing community needs post-flood, the church expanded their existing food pantry and relocated the thrift shop into the churches small hall. SALT is currently helping with the construction of a small addition that will allow these programs to expand and serve more area residents. The community center, located in the former Presbyterian Church, houses a thrift shop as well. Organizers plan to develop the site as an educational and cultural venue, and also as a meeting space.