Flooding widespread in Philipstown, Highland Falls
An intense storm dropped more than 6 inches of rain in Cold Spring and more than 8 inches in Highland Falls on Sunday (July 9), causing severe flooding in Philipstown and at West Point that swept away cars and bridges and shut down roads and Metro-North’s Hudson Line.
Rain fell at up to 2 inches per hour, the National Weather Service’s said at 9 p.m. The storm produced less rain in Dutchess County, but a weather station in Beacon set a three-hour precipitation record of 3.13 inches and one in Dover, a new 24-hour record with 5.39 inches.
Gov. Kathy Hochul declared a state of emergency on Sunday for Orange County, where Highland Falls and West Point have been particularly hard-hit, and said that state agencies were “participating in search and rescue efforts.
Hochul, speaking in Highland Falls on Monday (July 10) morning, along with Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus, said the storm has been declared a “1,000-year event.” She described the one person who died as a 35-year-old woman who came outside as her home filled with water and “was swept away.”
“When we discovered her remains, she was in the bottom of a ravine,” said Neuhaus. “It was very dangerous for the first responders that had to get her out of there.”
Neuhaus, who issued his own state of emergency on Sunday, said that emergency crews responding to numerous calls from people trapped in their homes and cars Among the most dramatic images from Sunday were ones showing submerged cars at West Point and the collapse of a section of Route 218 near the academy.
The Popolopen Bridge in Fort Montgomery, which spans a creek with the same name, suffered damage as did the wastewater treatment plant in Highland Falls, said Neuhaus. Freight service along the western shore of the Hudson River was also stopped because of damage along the tracks used by CSX, he said.
In Philipstown, residents began posting pictures and video of floodwaters rushing down Main Street in Cold Spring, filling the tunnel under the village’s railroad tracks and tearing up roadways and covering the Metro-North tracks in Garrison.
By early evening on Sunday, flooding was severe enough to shut down portions of Routes 9, 9D, 201 and 403, along with Snake Hill Road and Upper Station Road. As of 10 p.m., Routes 403 and 301 remained closed, as did the Palisades Interstate Parkway northbound between Exit 14 and the Long Mountain traffic circle, and Route 9W in both Orange and Rockland counties, according to the governor.
Check 511ny.org for up-to-date information on road closures.
Cold Spring’s roadways and facilities crew, with assistance from the Putnam County Highway Department, were working to clear debris and the village’s fire department busy pumping out basements, Mayor Kathleen Foley said in a Facebook post.
John Van Tassel, Philipstown’s Supervisor, said on Monday that the dirt roads had the worst damage but were being repaired by the highway workers. “They are in rough shape, but most all are passable,” he said. “We are still asking people to stay off the roads and allow the crews to work.”
Central Hudson reported 24 outages in Philipstown as of 9 a.m. on Monday and none in Beacon, and Philipstown opened its recreation center at 107 Glenclyffe Road in Garrison as a comfort station. With Route 9D closed between Route 403 and the Bear Mountain Bridge, the town canceled summer camp and other activities at the center on Monday.
“Please avoid non-essential travel as road conditions in Philipstown are variable,” said Foley on Sunday. “The magnitude of this storm is going to require time and patience as we clean up.”
Metro-North suspended service in both directions between Croton-Harmon and Poughkeepsie in the evening because of flooding and a downed tree on the tracks at Cortlandt. Commuters were advised to travel to Croton-Harmon or use the Harlem Line, which would be accepting Hudson Line tickets.
The agency also announced that the Newburgh-Beacon Ferry will not run on Monday.
A dozen people stranded at the Cold Spring train station when Metro-North suspended service spent several hours at Philipstown Recreation Center, said said Van Tassel. Staff there eventually transported them by bus to the Croton-Harmon station.
“As always, our staff stepped up,” said Van Tassel. “I am so grateful.”
As of 9 p.m. on Sunday, the New York State Bridge Authority had suspended traffic on the Bear Mountain Bridge because of flooding and debris on Route 9D and Route 6/202, which is also known as the Goat Trail.
For more storm updates and resources, visit highlandscurrent.org/storms-weather-updates-cold-spring-beacon.
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