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Home : News
NEWS | Nov. 4, 2019

NY National Guard responds to major flooding, wind damage

By Eric Durr New York National Guard

HERKIMER, N.Y. – The New York National Guard mobilized 210 Soldiers and Airmen in response to heavy rains and winds that damaged roads, flooded towns and killed one person Halloween night in upstate New York's Mohawk Valley.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo directed the Guard mobilization after winds of up to 60 miles per hour and heavy rain hit the watershed leading into the Mohawk River.

"We saw rain totals of 3.6 inches in Oneida County, 5.2 inches in Herkimer County, and then 5.6 inches in Hamilton County. This created significant flooding in areas downstream, in Utica, in Rome, in Herkimer, in Dolgeville, and a number of other communities," said New York State Emergency Operations Director Michael Kopy.

There were 240,000 residences and businesses without power at the height of the storm.

In Herkimer County, one man was killed when he drove his car into a flooded area, got out, and was swept away by the rising waters. A significant section of the village of Dolgeville flooded, and residents were evacuated from parts of the Town of Frankfort.

New York National Guard troops and equipment helped local governments cope with the post-storm cleanup.

On Friday, Nov. 1, Soldiers and Airmen mobilized at three air bases and several armories. Teams under the leadership of Col. Robert Charlesworth, commander of the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, arrived at the Herkimer County Emergency Operations Center in the Village of Herkimer.

New York National Guard leaders mobilized debris clearance teams from the New York Air National Guard's 174th Attack Wing in Syracuse, N.Y., the 109th Airlift Wing in Scotia, N.Y., and the 105th Airlift Wing in Newburg, N.Y. The Army National Guard's 204th Engineer Battalion in Binghamton, N.Y. sent an engineer response team equipped with front end loaders, bulldozers and dump trucks.

General response forces – troops and Humvees, LMTVs and other trucks – used for debris clearance and traffic control were dispatched from the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, the 42nd Combat Aviation Brigade, the 53rd Troop Command, the 109th Airlift Wing and the 174th Airlift Wing.

Major General Ray Shields, the adjutant general of New York, directed the teams to move at 6 a.m. Nov. 2 and was at the marshaling location in Herkimer when the troops arrived.

A 39-Soldier team from the 204th Engineer Battalion cleaned up debris left when the East Canada Creek flooded parts of Dolgeville.

The river breached a berm the Army Corps of Engineers built in the 1930s, said 1st Lt. Andrew Campany, the officer in charge of the team working on the project.

"From there it pretty much destroyed the foundations of 16 houses and went right through town, sweeping cars away," he said.

The fast-moving water left rocks throughout the flooded area after the water receded, Campany said. The engineers brought in two bulldozers and other equipment to rebuild the embankment along East Canada Creeks and remove the debris.

Soldiers and Airmen cleared debris and repaired roads in the towns of Frankfort, Newport and Ohio Nov. 2-3.

With the immediate response handled, some general-purpose response forces were released Nov. 3-4, while Army and Air National Guard engineering elements remained to manage tasks that required their specialized training and equipment.