Village of Washingtonville, NY -With another extraordinary deluge of rain last Monday, Washingtonville's Mays Field, Basketball Court and surrounding areas trned into one giant lake, with a very happy flock of geese, and the bridge crossing of the Moodna Creek coauld just be seen from the East end of the water far off in the distance. That red bridge is where the Creek should have stayed.
Over the pat decade the term "Hundred-Year Flood" has practically lost meaning. There was Hurricane Irene in 2011, then Superstorm Sandy in 2012 (another hurricane causing $70 billion in total from the Bahamas westward and the largest hurricane in diameter on record), Ida (which killed 40 people in 4 states, many who lived in basememts in NYC), and this past July's State of Emergency. when rains brought 4-9 inches in about 3 hours. Many people have stopped laughing when others talk about "Climate Change".
Washingtonville has historically had an abundance of water during heavy rains, but throughout most of the Village there has been ample shoreline, meadows farmland and wetlands that handle all but the worst of deluges. But now that we are experiencing one after another of these "100-Year Floods" , and development has wiped away some of the green space that traditionally absorb any excess rain or snow, corrective action has became essential to protect both life and property. And so, with Federal FEMA funding both the Town of Blooming Grove and its 2 villages, the Village of South Washingtonville and the Village of South Blooming Grove, along with the major Blooming Grove Unincorporated Town roads, culverts and waterways, officials and road crews worked diligently on about a dozen significant projects during the years since Sandy, and improved drainage by upsizing culverts, raising road levels, rebuilding bridges and clearing roadside drains and drainage ditches regularly, just to mention a small part of their work, along with tightening restrictions on drainage plans for all new construction.
After Monday's storm cleared Mayor Tom DeVinko said " If this had been just a couple more inches it would have been much worse!. Cardinal Drive had extensive flooding, so the road was closed, but no reported reident issue There was some minor flooding on Patricia Lane, and same for a few residents on East Main who had property flooding" Warwick, just south of Blooming Groe and
Chester, recorded 4.5 inches, and most of the rain fell locally on Monday between 3am Monday and 4pm This week was tough, and there were times on Monday morning when residenst had moments of deja vu from when Irene required boat rescuese and water flowed right down Main Street. This time DeVinko said that Cardinal Drive had to be closed for awhile along with Patricia Lane, (as did portions of Route 208 and Mt. Lodge Road in the Town), but there were no boat rescues required, no bridge or culvert collapses, and no serious property damage beyond families asking for assistance in pumping their basements out. Along Main Street you could hear the drone of sump pumps at work, and one house with the resident's car (which had been parked behind the home) was halfway submerged.
The basketball court adjaeent to where the geese were having a swimfest was likewise under about 6 inches of water. But residents in the area have become resilient, one saying "The waters go up, and then they go back down." And in fact it did. drain, and probably more quickly than it would have without the recently upgraded culverts. And officials have likely taken note of where there is additional potential to further protect houses and shops where the waters came dangerously close. They will continue their motto of "Live and Learn", Perhaps a decorative 3-ft. concrete landscaping/retaining wall here and there will give added assurance of limiting damage to structures. Likewise, as the Moodna continued North toward New Windsor its shoreline was widely breached, but fortunately it generally advanced only through about 100 to 200 ft. of lowland trees, and receeded in 24-48 hour in most places.
With forsythia flowers still showing from Summertime in a few places it's very likely that rainstorms will continue to bring local waterways above normal, at least enough to remember Yogi Berra's famous saying, "It ain't over till it's over."
The Moodna Creek should really be staying on the West side of that red bridge.
But fortunately this time the center of Waslhingtonville remained intact.
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