KEENE-Route 73, by Marcy Field, was closed and flood waters had reached the doors of a number of houses in Keene Thursday, April 28, according to Town Supervisor William Ferebee.
The Keene and Keene Valley fire departments helped shuttle seniors living by themselves in low-lying areas to safety. Ferebee was helping before his vehicle stalled.
"Right now my Jeep is siting in a lady's driveway up to the hood in water," he said.
Students at Keene Central School were dismissed shortly after they arrived, Ferebee said. That was good news for the kids, and for some parents.
"I get to spend the day with my kids,"said Tasha Turan, mother of two children at KCS. "I'm psyched."
Eastbound commuters heading to the Adirondack Northway (I-87) from Lake Placid were in for quite a detour. Usually, motorists drive from the hamlet of Keene, along Route 73, through the hamlet of Keene Valley, to get to the Northway. Not this morning.
New York State Department of Transportation employees were at the corner of Route 9N and Route 73, directing eastbound traffic from the hamlet of Keene to Elizabethtown.
Route 73 was closed from this corner to the hamlet of Keene Valley, as the East Branch of the Ausable River and its tributaries had flooded some roadways and bridges to the east. The wading pool, a popular family day-use area across the highway from Marcy Field, was completely under water, and the river had covered one nearby lane of Route 73 for about 20 yards by 8:30 a.m.
About 1 mile east of the Route 9N/73 junction toward Keene Valley, Marcy Neville was kayaking to the highway from her home because her driveway was flooded. The East Branch of the Ausable River flows behind her house, and she said she's used to springtime flooding. Since her house sits on a small hill, the structure has never been flooded, Neville said. When the driveway is covered by water, and she's stranded, her home looks like a castle surrounded by a moat.
Neville had kayaked to the road to retrieve a metal rowboat. After untangling the heavy boat from a thicket of cedar trees, she paddled the orange kayak back across the flooded driveway to her house, with the rowboat in tow. Why?
"Just in case I have to evacuate my dogs," she said.
The Keene Central School will get back to a normal routine when the water recedes from Route 73 between Keene and Keene Valley, according to Ferebee.
A number of dirt roads, including Alstead Hill, Cavanaugh and Styles Brook, will need to be repaired, he said. Half a lane from Gilmore Hill, a paved road, washed out and will require major work. As far as Ferebee knew, that was the extent of the damage as of Thursday morning.
"That's my best assesment at this time," he said.
(Assistant Managing Editor Andy Flynn contributed to this story.)