Tropical Storm Irene and aftermath in Cohoes, New York

Having been through Tropical Storm Katrina as it passed through West Central Alabama in 2005, I was expecting this to be pretty destructive. The winds really weren’t that bad at all, at most a Beaufort force 8. The heaviest rain seemed to fall in the Catskills at Hunter, at least 10 inches, from the radar, but we got enough to cause major flooding along the Mohawk and Hudson rivers. This neighborhood is up on a hill, so it wasn’t really bad. There is very bad flooding happening west of us along the Mohawk in Schenectady and in smaller communities, and from what people told me today, many homes near the Hudson River in Troy have the river in the first floor. I’m supposed to go get a flu shot tomorrow, and the drug store’s phone is out of service – they are likely underwater, too.

Before-and-after photos

Mohawk River before Irene

Before Irene. In spring, water level leaves only top 4 rows of stone above water.

Luckily I didn’t need the ones I took of possible wind damage sites, but here are a couple of the Mohawk River.

During the spring flood, the river covers all but the uppermost four levels on that piling. I took this photo last week, before Irene came through, and the Mohawk was a little above its usual August low point because of the storms we got just before the weekend.

Mohawk River level after Irene.

Mohawk River level after Irene.

This afternoon I took the “after” photo and then got the heck off the bridge. The violence of the water really doesn’t make the two photos easy to compare.

That piling is supporting the railroad trestle over the Mohawk, and I was standing on the Waterford Bridge that carries Route 32 over the river from Cohoes to (surprise!) Waterford. The water was so high and hitting the Waterford Bridge supports so hard that you got spattered whenever you walked past one of the supports. I thought a couple of times of taking a picture or a video of that, but with that violent water so close, I chickened out and just got off the bridge instead.

River and bridges over Mohawk, August 6, 2011

River and bridges over Mohawk, August 6, 2011.

Bridges across the Mohawk

These are two images shot from a higher vantage point, not precisely from the same spot but close enough to show how high the river is.

The one to the left was taken on August 6th from up on Harmony Hill near the old mill (now converted into lofts). It’s upriver, looking downstream. In the video (below) I mention a dam and that is a bit further downstream, out of this frame.

Mohawk River and bridges after Irene

Mohawk River and bridges, August 29, 2011, after Tropical Storm Irene.

This shot was taken today from roughly the same location. Yes, it’s almost up to the tracks/road. I think the Mohawk is still rising, too.

I haven’t noticed any trains today, and won’t be surprised if they close the Waterford Bridge, although both it and the other bridges I walked over today weren’t even quivering. They’re very solidly built. However, that is some extreme water.

Tropical Storm Irene video

That’s not good videography (I’m new at that) but the subject matter sure is compelling. Here is the USGS cam mentioned in the video. They only update it twice a day.

Categories: Nonfiction, Uncategorized

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