Flooding emergency in Saranac Lake

Flooding closed part of the Riverwalk in the village of Saranac Lake. Photo by Phil Brown.

New York State is sending personnel to the village of Saranac Lake to help control flooding from the Saranac River and other waterways. Following is a news release that we received late Thursday afternoon.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that he has directed the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services’ Office of Emergency Management to deploy emergency resources to help protect against localized flooding issues from the Saranac River and other water bodies near the Village of Saranac Lake where a local state of emergency was issued this afternoon. Throughout the North Country, water levels remain elevated due to ongoing snow melt in the higher elevations and could continue to rise as the spring storm season begins. Widespread rain is expected through Friday, however most flooding will be minor, occurring in areas that experience heavy downpours and thunderstorms.

“As the cold weather fades, we expect to see spring flooding from snow melt and rain,” Governor Cuomo said. “While we are prepared and stand ready with resources to respond in communities in need, I encourage anyone who lives in areas prone to flooding to take any precautions necessary before flooding occurs and heed any warnings from local officials should conditions worsen.”

As part of this deployment, the State Office of Emergency Management has equipped Franklin County Emergency Management Officials with 5,000 sandbags, one sandbagging machine, and 200 feet of Aquadam temporary dam system from the State’s Plattsburgh regional stockpile. The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services has been in contact with county emergency managers and regional staff is monitoring conditions along the river that are prone to flooding.

Saranac Lake Mayor Clyde Rabideau said, “On behalf of the entire Saranac Lake community, I thank Governor Cuomo for his unyielding support and resources in combatting extreme weather. As we prepare for potential flooding, I urge all residents to remain vigilant and take any added precautions necessary to stay safe.”

While flooding can occur any time of year, Spring rains and snowmelt can cause overflows of creeks, rivers and streams and storms and heavy downpours can cause flash flooding quickly. New Yorkers should take steps to prepare homes, businesses, and vehicles before flooding occurs.

Below are flood preparation safety tips:

  • Learn the safest route from your home or business to high, safe ground should you have to leave in a hurry.
  • Develop and practice a ‘family escape’ plan and identify a meeting place if family members become separated.
  • Make an itemized list – as well as potentially photo and video documentation — of all valuables including furnishings, clothing and other personal property. Keep the list in a safe place.
  • Stockpile emergency supplies of canned food, medicine and first aid supplies and drinking water. Store drinking water in clean, closed containers.
  • Plan what to do with your pets.
  • Have a portable radio, flashlights, extra batteries and emergency cooking equipment available.
  • Keep your automobile fueled. If electric power is cut off, gasoline stations may not be able to pump fuel for several days. Have a small disaster supply kit in the trunk of your car.
  • Find out how many feet your property is above and below possible flood levels. When predicted flood levels are broadcast, you can determine if you may be flooded.
  • Keep materials like sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting and lumber handy for emergency water-proofing.
  • Check on your insurance coverage. Homeowners’ insurance policies generally do not cover flood damages. Only flood insurance can protect your home against flood damages. You can purchase flood insurance whether or not you live in a mapped flood zone.
  • Travel with care during flooding.


  • Leave early to avoid being marooned on flooded roads.
  • Make sure you have enough fuel for your car.
  • Follow recommended routes. DO NOT sightsee.
  • As you travel, monitor NOAA Weather Radio and local radio broadcasts for the latest information.
  • Watch for washed-out roads, earth-slides, broken water or sewer mains, loose or downed electrical wires, and falling or fallen objects.
  • Watch for areas where rivers or streams may suddenly rise and flood, such as highway dips, bridges, and low areas.
  • DO NOT attempt to drive over a flooded road. Turn around and go another way.
  • DO NOT underestimate the destructive power of fast-moving water. Two feet of fast-moving flood water will float your car. Water moving at two miles per hour can sweep cars off a road or bridge.
  • If you are in your car and water begins to rise rapidly around you, abandon the vehicle immediately.

New Yorkers are encouraged to sign up for NY Alert at https://users.nyalert.gov to get immediate alerts on flood warnings and severe storms.

For a list of complete list of weather terms and preparation ideas before during and after a flood, visit the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services website at www.dhses.ny.gov/oem/safety-info/flood/floodprepare.cfm.


About Phil Brown

Phil Brown edited the Adirondack Explorer from 1999 until his retirement in 2018. He continues to explore the park and to write for the publication and website.

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