THURMAN - Massive chunks of ice that blocked the flow of the Hudson River and flooded riverbanks and roadways near North Creek late last week roared downstream Sunday (March 13) afternoon, forming an ice jam about a mile north of the Rte. 418 bridge at Thurman Station, officials said.
But by Tuesday, March 15, the ice jam that at one point appeared to present a serious flooding threat partially dissipated, allowing water flows to resume to normal, county officials said.
"The risk of flash flood is now gone," Warren County Public Works Superintendent Jeff Tennyson said mid-day Tuesday. "Water could still back up, but anything at this point would occur gradually."
On Monday, March 14, the ice jam backed up water from the weekend's steady rain, flooding lower portions of the Warren County Fish Hatchery property along the river in Warrensburg.
For hours, floodwaters engulfed a holding pond for trophy trout, but most of the fish were retained in the pond due to netting in place, Tennyson said.
Sunday and Monday, the historic home on the property which houses the county Parks & Recreation Department employees appeared to be in the path of the rising flood waters, and they relocated their work stations to the Public Works headquarters - and the road to the hatchery was closed off.
County Parks and Recreation facilities manager reported this was the second time in 20 years the hatchery grounds have flooded to some extent.
Friday, much of the equipment stored in outbuildings was also moved to county DPW headquarters as a precaution.
However by Tuesday, the lack of rain quelled the flooding threat, and the hatchery and parks and recreation employees went back to work at their headquarters by the river.
Friday and Saturday, the ice jam upstream in the Hudson River flooded Old River Rd. off state Rte. 28N, and occupants of about a dozen homes were advised to evacuate.
Mid-evening Saturday, the river-water level near the Rte. 28N bridge surpassed 12.14 feet, achieving the highest recorded level at that point since 1907, North Creek Fire Chief Steve Studnicky said. Working on shifts 24 hours per day, the North Creek firefighters - along with state and county highway and emergency officials - monitored the river and the ice blockage, which could have caused devastation if it had moved downstream without breaking up first, he said.
The North Creek firefighters, along with their peers from area fire companies, stayed at various points along the river at all hours through the weekend monitoring the river. Studnicky got about an hour of sleep Friday and Saturday nights. Friday night, he slept in his chair at the fire station between duty shifts.
Sunday afternoon, he said he was glad the mounds of ice had traveled downstream.
"Now I can get some sleep," he said.