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Irene hits Johnsburg with fury

Not as bad in other locales

Hudson Street was heavily damaged during the storm Sunday evening, Aug. 28.

Hudson Street was heavily damaged during the storm Sunday evening, Aug. 28. Pam Ross and Jeff Britton

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Crane Mountain Road was heavily damaged during the storm Sunday evening, Aug. 28. Highway Superintendent Daniel Hitchcock said his crews will be weeks or even months catching up to the damage. Repairs made following spring flooding were washed away, setting back the department’s schedule and budget.

— While much of the region weathered Tropical Storm Irene with only a few downed trees and branches, Johnsburg suffered rough handling by the storm.

Other towns fared better.

Newcomb Supervisor George Canon said the storm didn't damage roads or homes. Water did rise up on the town beach, and a few trees fell on the road to Adirondac and Tahawus. Overall, Canon said Newcomb made out well.

In Long Lake, the highway department was busy picking debris off the road during the storm, but there were no reported fallen trees or flooding, said Supervisor Clark Seaman.

“We really lucked out and are grateful,” said Seaman.

In Johnsburg, the outlook was less favorable. Johnsburg Highway Superintendent Daniel Hitchcock said the storm caused damage that will take weeks to clean up, maybe even months.

The highway department, like most homes, was without power Sunday night and early Monday. To coordinate their crews, the department had to wire a 12-volt battery to a radio.

Dozens of downed trees blocked roadways during and after the storm. Hitchcock estimated Monday morning that the crews must have cut about 100 trees that had fallen on the road. At times, crews would come upon eight or 10 trees fallen together into a massive, difficult-to-remove roadblock.

During the worst of the storm, trees fell constantly, said Hitchcock. Crews would cut their way into a blocked road, clearing all the downed trees on their way in. When they turned around to leave, they'd run into newly-fallen trunks along the road they'd just worked to clear.

By Tuesday morning, he said that the calls to his office had slowed quite a bit. “Something must be going right,” he said.

Hitchcock said he was still getting calls complaining about fallen trees resting on power lines, but said he can't touch those trees until the power company's been there first, so he has to wait on those removals.

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