FORT PLAIN – Village streets were under water this morning from flooding, and a state of emergency was declared for the town of Minden. Authorities in Montgomery County reported at least 100 homes may have been flooded.
“The village of Fort Plain is heavily damaged,” Montgomery County Emergency Management Director Adam Schwabrow said this morning. “We had water on every street in the village.”
Schwabrow said 50 to 100 homes in the village had to be evacuated and Harry Hoag Elementary School was being used as an evacuation center.
Minden Superintendent of Highways Ronald Kardash used the word “unbelievable” several times this morning as he surveyed the flooding.
He estimated there may be more than 100 homes flooded in the Fort Plain area.
“I can’t tell you the amount of damage,” Kardash said. “It’s a huge amount of damage. The creek went right down the middle of the village.”
The Canajoharie Volunteer Fire Department was set up this morning as a command center for area firefighters on search and rescue, who were checking on homes in the area.
Minden Supervisor Thomas Quackenbush, who couldn’t be reached for comment this morning, issued a state of emergency for his town and the village of Fort Plain.
Major highway travel into the western part of Montgomery County was shut down. Route 5 was closed anyway Thursday because of the train derailment in the town of Mohawk, and Route 5S was shut down this morning because of flooding.
Schwabrow urged “no unnecessary travel” in that area. He said parts of Nelliston were affected as well, but Canajoharie had no major problems “yet.”
The National Weather Service today issued a flash-flood warning for Montgomery, Fulton and Herkimer counties.
Schwabrow said the culprit for the problems in Fort Plain was the Otsquago Creek, which overflowed about 6 a.m. The village is located on the south bank of the Mohawk River, where the Otsquago Creek enters the Mohawk.
“Our town barn was flooded,” Kardash said. “The creek went way over its banks.”
He said he has six men in his Highway Department, but he couldn’t get them to where he wanted them to be this morning.
The highway official said the state Department of Transportation closed the new bridge over Route 80.
Kardash said he “lost” Spring Street in Fort Plain to the flood, and he estimated three to four feet of water at the highest point of the rain. By late morning, he said the water was starting to go down.
“The water’s going down by the creek all the way from VanHornesville,” he said. “It’s a disaster.”
He said initial reports described seven inches of rain in hilly sections of the Fort Plain and Minden area.
Kardash said state police and DOT had taken over the area, closing roads and flying police helicopters over the area to survey the damage.
Michael Anich can be reached at [email protected].