Locally, the communities of Au Sable Forks, Keene, Jay and Upper Jay were some of the hardest hit, although few communities escaped the storm’s wrath. Like in Colorado, President Obama declared a disaster declaration, paving the way for help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the New York National Guard was on site to help devastated communities recover.
Blame it on global warming, natural weather cycles or just plain rotten luck, few would argue that our weather has gotten more and more extreme as of late. One hundred year floods seem to be commonplace these days and our aging infrastructure is not liking it. With that in mind, it is imperative that initiatives such as Gov. Cuomo’s NY Rising Communities be put in place to help communities rebuild in such a way that they are better prepared for the next severe weather incident.
If there is one thing history has shown us, it is that the North Country will undoubtedly face again the type of devastating flooding Coloradans are now experiencing. The only way to mitigate the damage is to be realistic in that it will happen again, and begin preparations now knowing where the majority of the damage occurred in the past.
While the up to $6 million pledged to the North Country under the governor’s NY Rising Communities initiative is a start, it is but a drop in the bucket toward the money needed to shore up the stream banks, bridges, roadways and other pieces of infrastructure that will be impacted by the next severe weather event.
In the meantime, on a local level, it is vital to support your first responders as well as the American Red Cross — the individuals who will be at the forefront of coming to your aid.
Just as disaster workers from the American Red Cross were deployed here in the North Country in August 2011, the group is now in Colorado, providing food and shelter to those affected by the flooding.