THURMAN - Heavy rains in northern Warren County Saturday afternoon caused substantial flooding, prompting road washouts -- with the worst damage occuring in Thurman, where many roadways were under water and a State of Emergency was declared.
At 10:20 p.m., Thurman Supervisor Evelyn Wood warned against any travel in her town as she described the destruction of roads.
Substantial washouts occurred on Valley Road, Mountain Road, High and Mud streets, plus Smith, Drexel, and Dartmouth roads, she said.
Don Potter Bridge was destroyed, and the roadway on either side was washed out, and pine trees, their roots washed out, down at the scene. She said the bridge had been washed away, and guardrails were ripped off the road by the raging floodwaters.
The area was pounded by heavy rain, wind and hail mid-afternoon Saturday, she said, following intermittent rains the past several days including heavy rain late Friday night.
"I'm urging all Thurman residents to stay at home unless they absolutely must go out," she said. "And those who do go out should exercise extreme caution."
She said that many roads that may look passable are actually hazardous because they've been undermined.
She and Warrensburg Supervisor Kevin Geraghty said that a good number of people in the region had apparently lost electric power.
Geraghty, on duty at 9:30 p.m. at the Warrensburg firehouse, said that the I-87 Northway had been closed for several hours late Saturday afternoon - causing severe backups - with traffic diverted up state Rte. 9, which itself was closed for a time later on.
He said that Schroon River Road was washed out or under water at several places, and a tree was down over the roadway.
"It's a big mess," Geraghty said.
Personnel and equipment from five fire companies from Queensbury, and firefighters from Lake George came up to Warrensburg to be dispatched where they were needed, he said. A command center was set up for emergency personnel at the Warrensburg firehouse.
Wood said that the attendant at the town landfill Saturday was stranded due to the washout on Irving Baker Road, and he had to leave his his truck at the landfill and walk out because the road was impassable.
At 10:20 p.m. she said that town employees were investigating whether Combs Road Bridge was washed out as townspeople reported. Her mother, a former Town Board member, was on duty at Woods' home, taking phone calls from Thurman residents either stranded or inquiring as to condition of roads, while she was at the town hall late at night.
"A lot of people are now stuck in their homes," she said, noting that many local citizens were walking into areas cut off by washouts to check on neighbors, particularly the elderly.
"Local people are pulling together," she said. "I've never been so proud of the citizens of our town."
Town employees were working from about 6 or 7 a.m. Saturday all day, late into the night, she said, in an attempt to make roads passable.
Geraghty said that emergency personnel responded to rescue a Stony Creek man who was stranded atop his home on Warrensburg Road - he was on his roof attempting to seek high ground from floodwaters.
Former Warrensburg Fire Chief Rick Hull said the fire company had provided a light tower for Warrensburg Town employees repairing washouts on Green Mansions Road in northern Warrensburg, a road that provides the only access to the Green Mansions housing and condominium developments.
Geraghty said that the fire company had also dispatched light towers to Tripp Lake Road which also was washed out.
"The waters are now receding, but it's been a long day,' he said.