Irene destroyed or damaged 228 homes

A mobile home destroyed in Keene. Photo by Tom Woodman.
A mobile home destroyed in Keene. Photo by Tom Woodman.

Hurricane Irene destroyed thirty-one homes in Essex and Clinton counties and damaged 197 others, according to the North Country chapter of American Red Cross.

“We’ve never seen this many homes damaged by the rain, the flooding, and the wind,” Jeanie Roberts, the chapter’s executive director, told the Explorer today.

Indeed, Roberts said Irene was more devastating than any natural disaster she has witnessed in her twenty-five years on the job—including the ice storm of 1998. Although the ice storm left homes without power for weeks, she said, “at the end of it everyone had somewhere to go.”

Nearly all the homes struck by Irene were in the communities of Keene, Jay, Ausable Forks, and Black Brook. Roberts provided the following breakdown of damage by county:

Homes destroyed: 30 in Essex County, 1 in Clinton County.

Homes with major damage: 73 in Essex County, 105 in Clinton County.

Homes with minor damage: 10 in Essex County, 5 in Clinton County.

Homes “affected” by storm: 3 in Essex County, 1 in Clinton County.

She gave as examples of major damage the flooding of a basement to the first floor or serious structural damage. Minor damage might include some flooding. A house merely “affected” might have sustained a little water damage.

Statewide, Roberts said, Irene destroyed 616 homes and inflicted major damage on another 2,351. Another 1,557 sustained minor damage or were affected. Thirty-six homes remain inaccessible.

The North Country chapter is distributing cleanup kits to homeowners and has sent caseworkers to the communities to assess what else is needed. She said the chapter is no longer operating a shelter for those forced out of their homes. “For the most part people are staying with friends and family,” she said.

People can donate online to the North Country chapter. Click here for more information.

The Adirondack Community Trust has set up the Keene Community Trust to help people and businesses in the hamlets of Keene and Keene Valley. As of last week, the trust had received $50,000 in pledges, according to Cali Brooks, ACT’s executive director. Click here for more information and to donate online.

The town of Jay has set up its own relief fund for the hamlets of Jay, Upper Jay, and Ausable Forks. Click here to learn more.

Hikers who want to help rebuild trails in the High Peaks region can sign up for the Adirondack Mountain Club’s Fall Trails Day on Saturday, October 1. For more information, e-mail Wes Lampman at

More suggestions for giving can be found on the North Country Public Radio website.

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.

Reader Interactions


  1. susan jennings says

    I wrote to the Town Of Keene about helping with clean up at Library. As the president of a small rural library I know it is the life line for many folks especially those who rely on the Library’s computers.

    Please let me know how we might help


  2. Barbara says

    The keene valley library has a food pantry and takes donations

    At town hall they are looking for cleaning supplies

    Volunteers can call 888-774-0289


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