BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -Two hundred New York National Guard Soldiers and Airmen were on state active duty on Wednesday after as much as 6.83 inches of rain fell on some parts of the Finger Lakes region on Tuesday.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo ordered the Guard response as the state declared a disaster area in 14 counties in the Finger Lakes area and Southern Tier of New York counties where heavy rains caused streams and lakes to rise. The declaration allows the state to move assets—including Guard Soldiers and Airmen—to assist local governments.
On Tuesday, 30 Airmen from the 174th Attack Wing, based at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base in Syracuse, were deployed to Ovid, New York, to assist local governments there in clearing debris. A priority was to clear roads and keep drainage ditches and culverts from clogging and overflowing.
The 204th Engineer Battalion in Binghamton mobilized 25 Soldiers with high-axle vehicles for immediate storm response. The Susquehanna River flows past Binghamton and the river’s water level was four feet over flood stage at one point before it subsided Tuesday afternoon.
On Wednesday morning, Aug. 15, an additional 150 Soldiers and vehicles were placed on duty in Auburn, Binghamton, Walton and Horseheads. All elements were equipped with LMTV vehicles and Humvees capable of negotiating flooded areas. The Soldiers came from additional companies of the 204th Engineer Battalion and the 102nd Military Police Battalion in Auburn.
The New York National Guard also placed an additional 50 members of the 369th Sustainment Brigade on standby at Camp Smith Training Area in the Hudson Valley near Peekskill, New York.
The New York Army National Guard also has two UH-60s with hoist capability standing by at the Rochester International Airport Army Aviation Support Facility.
The Finger Lakes region of New York stretches through the middle of the state and includes 11 lakes, the longest of which is 38 miles long. The region is a major tourism destination and wine industry center.
In Pennsylvania, where National Guard assets have been mobilized for several days because of flooding, aerial rescues took place Tuesday in the Benton area north of Bloomsburg, where three helicopters with a group run by the National Guard and the state Fish and Boat Commission performed about 10 rescues, including people plucked from the roofs of their homes, according to the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency.