By MIKE LYNCH
Heavy rains have knocked out power, flooded roads and resulted in at least at least one rescue in the Adirondacks.
Essex County Board of Supervisors Chair Shaun Gilliland said Friday morning that 40 roads were closed and that flooding had occurred in Moriah, Keene, Elizabethtown and Ticonderoga, among other places. He wasn’t aware of any injuries.
“The growing threat is power outages and people losing power and not being able to empty their basements,” Gilliland said late Friday morning.
Keene Town Supervisor Joe Pete Wilson said the Keene Valley Fire Department rescued a man along the East Branch of Ausable River early Friday morning. The hiker had been sleeping in his truck when he awoke to find himself surrounded by water. Wilson said the water was too deep to drive through and the current was too strong for the man to swim through.
“We got a front loader from the highway department and drove it through the water and he climbed into the bucket of the loader to get away from his truck,” he said.
He said the man escaped injury and then spent the night at the fire station.
Wilson said state Route 73 between 9N to Keene and Keene Valley was closed Friday morning because of flooding from that same river, and there was 3 feet of water on Marcy Field.
Serious flooding was also reported further downstream and Route 9N between Keene and Jay was closed. New York State Electric & Gas reported nearly 800 power outages there on Friday morning and hundreds more throughout the northern and eastern Adirondacks.
“This is the first major flood since Irene in the Ausable Valley and beyond,” the Ausable River Association posted on its Facebook page at about 10 a.m. “The river crested in the past hour after at least 1.8″ of rain fell swelling streams. … Please stay safe and, if possible, off the roads to ensure our highway crews and emergency workers can work efficiently.”
Many of the farmlands in the Jay area were underwater, resident Tim Rowland said. He was traveling to Hague Friday morning and said roads throughout that area were closed.
Tyler Socash, who is the education program director for the Adirondack Mountain Club, said trees were leaning on power lines along Adirondack Loj Road Friday morning, and the roads were covered with debris on his drive from Keene to the ADK property.
There was so much rain Thursday that Heart Lake rose a foot overnight, he said, and streams that crossed trails in the High Peaks would likely be impassable for hikers Friday.
“I wouldn’t advise anyone to go into the High Peaks today,” he said, noting that there were no cars owned by hikers in the ADK parking lots Friday for the first time in six months.