Gallery: Obama Declares Federal Disaster For NY Areas Ravaged By Floodi...

© Governor Andrew Cuomo Flickr
Thought NYC had it rough when Irene hit? What we experienced paled in comparison to the disaster communities near the Catskill reservoirs are experiencing. President Obama has declared parts of New York a federal disaster area, emphasizing just how serious the situation is. Although Irene was downgraded to a tropical storm as it reached the city, it still had enough intensity to dump 9 to 13 inches of rainfall, nearly causing the Gilboa dam on the Schoharie River to fail. Although the dam was later deemed structurally sound, evacuation sirens blared the day the storm hit after water levels in the reservoir rose to record highs. Mass flooding continued throughout the surrounding counties as the storm made its way through New England.

The Hudson Valley communities saw roads turn into streams, eerily reminiscent of the damage Hurricane Floyd had done more then a decade prior. Flooding continued all the way up to Vermont, and by the time Irene hit New England, the storm was already considered one of the costliest natural disasters in the nation’s history, with damage possibly exceeding $7 billion.

Of course, that’s not to say NYC had it any easier. We had everything from uprooted trees, overflowing sewage, and a mass transit system that was put to a stop for the first time in its history due to a natural disaster. Thankfully, all New Yorkers across the state managed to pull through together.

At Governor Cuomo’s request, the President has granted New York a federal disaster declaration. “The damage incurred by Irene has devastated communities in counties across our State, leaving many without homes and towns and villages without essential public infrastructure. All levels of government are working together to help New York recover and we will not stop until the job is done,” said the Governor in a statement.

Irene does beg the question, and most New Yorkers have already been wondering: How much of this can we blame on climate change? Some might not agree, but the photos definitely tell a rather alarming story.

Via New York Times

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