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.

Flooding damaged the intersection of Lower Station and Upper Station roads in Garrison. (Photo by Kate Calligaro)

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.

Water flooded the tunnel under the Metro-North tracks in Cold Spring. (Photo by Wanda Lusk)

Behind The Story

Type: News

News: Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Articles attributed to "staff" are written by the editor or a senior editor. This is typically because they are brief items based on a single source, such as a press release, or there are multiple contributors, such as a collection of photos.

2 replies on “Storm Wreaks Havoc In The Mid-Hudson (Updated)”

  1. Any pictures of Dockside flooding, where the first thing the Fjord Trail folks did was cut down a bunch of big old, out-of-date trees? It’s so great that thousands of trees will be gotten rid of when the “trail” is built right in the flood zone because it’ll make the trail much sunnier — you won’t have to be plunged into gloomy shade during your hike. Updating the trees to concrete and asphalt will also increase the opportunities for recreational boating during floods: you can get a really exciting ride on those flood currents — it’s a blast! (But please do wear a life preserver; some people almost drowned July 4.)

    Since there’ll be so much more pavement than trees along the trail you won’t have to worry about cleaning up all that messy brush that collects after a flood. (Hunks of paving materials are much simpler to remove — all you need is a few backhoes and dump trucks. And the replacement work will be great for the economy!)

    It’s heartwarming to know that Cold Spring has a thoughtful, responsible plan for the future that incorporates an acute sensitivity to both the community and our famous natural (and rapidly changing) environment.

  2. Gov. Kathy Hochul described the recent storm and flooding in the Hudson Highlands as a “1,000-year event.” Although that may be true based on historical data, it will not be true going forward. Extreme weather is becoming more frequent and more severe due to the climate crisis. Although impacts of climate change are here now, we can act to prevent them becoming much worse in the coming decades.

    To limit the effects of climate change, the U.S. must generate much more of its energy from clean sources. Clean-energy projects require permits, and the current permitting system makes it easier to build a fossil fuel energy plant or a gas pipeline than a solar or wind plant or power transmission lines. Reform of the permitting system will allow the U.S. to meet its climate goals (such as those in the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022), remove the backlog of clean-energy projects, create jobs in rural areas and improve air quality in disadvantaged communities. We all benefit from the decreased carbon dioxide emissions facilitated by clean energy.

    Please contact your elected officials: Hochul, Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, your congressional representative and local officials, and tell them that you support clean-energy permitting reform. We in the Highlands have seen the impacts of climate change in the last weeks, and we know the time to act is now. Whether storms like we have seen recently occur every 100 years or every 10 years is up to us.

    Spodek is an associate professor of chemistry and environmental studies at Vassar College and a member of the Mid-Hudson chapter of the Citizen’s Climate Lobby.

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