WARRENSBURG - Persistent rain Wednesday night and Thursday morning fed raging rivers throughout Warren County, prompting widespread flooding.
States of emergency were declared Friday in the towns of Johnsburg and Chester after the Hudson River reportedly reached a record level - Flows in the Hudson were reported at 10 times normal volume, or 30,000 cubic feet per second, according to Warren County Public Works Superintendent Jeff Tennyson. He said the river flows on Thursday were twice the normal annual high volume.
The flooding, some of the worst in recent decades, closed a half-dozen low-lying roads in the region that were underwater, he said.
"This is a massive amount of water, much more than normal, especially with no ice jams," Tennyson said.
One woman in Pottersville was evacuated by boat, and a dozen or more homes in the towns of Luzerne and Hadley were flooded, as were properties in Stony Creek, North Creek and elsewhere along the Hudson and Schroon Rivers.
In North Creek on Thursday, the rail station serving the county railway was flooded, including a locomotive turntable. Nearby, the Kellogg property with a row of historic buildings were also flooded. The access road to the rail station was closed, as it was underwater.
Old River Road in Chester near North Creek was under 4 feet of water, cutting off a number of homes from transportation. Nearby, the water was flowing 15 feet deep at the 8N bridge.
In Johnsburg, Thirteenth Lake Road was closed after heavy rains washed debris into culverts, clogging them up and causing roads to wash out in several places, Tennyson said.
State Trooper Jarrod Bowman of the Chester substation presided over an evacuation by boat of an elderly woman from her home on Valley Farm Road in Pottersville.
A neighbor of the woman provided a flat-bottomed boat, and he and a relative of the woman and Bowman rescued the woman from her home - where she lived alone - which was surrounded by rising waters of the nearby Schroon River. Bowman had been called by the woman's daughter, a Clifton Park resident. Area rescue squads assisted at the scene, Bowman said.
State Rte. 8 was closed mid-Thursday off to all traffic between North Creek and Indian Lake due to water covering both lanes of traffic. Johnsburg Supervisor Sterling Goodspeed said he had never seen this happen in his lifetime.
Areas of Thousand Acres Golf Course in Stony Creek and Cronin's Golf Course in Warrensburg were underwater mid-Thursday. Low-lying properties near Thousand Acres Resort were flooded extensively, and the Stony Creek-Warrensburg Road was blocked off mid-morning Thursday. Crazy Creek Campground near Cameron Road near Thousand Acres was under a foot of water, Tennyson said.
Some properties along Schroon River Road and East Schroon River Road were also flooded, including some homes. An area of particular concern was at the northern end of Schroon River Road near the Glendale Bridge near the hamlet of Pottersville, Tennyson said.
Although the floodwaters dismayed or worried many, some local rafters were apparently quite happy. A raft and two kayaks made the trip from North Creek to The Glen this afternoon, and witnesses said they cheered as they passed by.
High winds accompanying the rains brought down trees throughout the county, some landing on roadways.
Tennyson said the raging flows were threatening to scour the abutments of several smaller bridges - with shallow foundations - and county employees were watching them to monitor their safety.
Bridges most vulnerable to flood damage, he said, were the Crane Mountain Road Bridge and the Back to Sodom Road Bridge and the Claude Straight Bridge, all in Johnsburg, and the Adirondack Road Bridge over Mill Brook in Chester.
Tennyson said county workers were also surveying the county railroad, making sure no culverts were blocking up, so costly track washouts could be avoided.
He said highway workers were busy throughout the county for the past 24 hours inspecting roadways and infrastructure.
"At this point we're chasing it," he said. "We're hoping the rain subsides so we can start reconstruction," he said.
By late Thursday afternoon, however, the threat of further flooding subsided after the rain ceased.
(News-Enterprise Editor Lindsay Yandon contributed to this report.)