Storms Battered Sections of Hudson Valley; Caused Extensive Infrastructure Damage

John Jordan | July 11, 2023

From left, Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus, Gov. Kathy Hochul and local officials briefed the press on the extensive flood damage in Highland Falls.

HIGHLAND FALLS—The storm damage from the torrential rains that hit the Hudson Valley on Sunday is considerable. At a press conference on Monday, Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus said the damage in the Highland Falls/West Point area alone is in the “tens of millions of dollars.”

Gov. Kathy Hochul, Neuhaus and other state, county and local officials chronicled the road, bridge and sewer infrastructure damage and power outages in the area from the storm that claimed the life of one Orange County resident. First responders rescued people from flooded homes, and from cars stranded on flooded roadways throughout the region. Neuhaus and Hocul, who both declared a State of Emergency for Orange County, said the state would be looking for financial assistance from the federal government to help pay for and expedite repairs. The governor also declared a state of emergency for Ontario County in the Finger Lakes region of the state.  Putnam County Executive Kevin Byrne declared a state of emergency in Putnam County due to the storm damage there.

Locally, Town of Yorktown Supervisor Tom Diana declared a state of emergency on Monday in response to significant storm damage that included a sinkhole behind Town Hall, compromised culverts, boulders moved into roads, washed out roads and flooding. “As the water recedes, I’m sure we’re going to find more damage. There are roads washed out all over the place, so we advise everyone to use caution when they drive. Do not drive into standing water because you don’t know how deep it might be,” said Supervisor Diana.

Flooding from the storm caused numerous closures of state and local roads, as well as disruption of Metro-North commuter rail service due to damaged rail lines, particularly on the Hudson Line. In addition to Orange County, sections of Rockland, Putnam and Westchester counties also experienced significant storm damage.

Gov. Hochul said, “The first step is assessment, assess the damage, assess the monetary value of the damage so we can put in our request for FEMA assistance to help the communities have the resources they need to rebuild we’ll be putting in all those requests, working with our local partners to make sure we have an accurate assessment of the cost and the damage done.” She later noted that in the past nine months, New York State has seen a storm that caused more snow fall in a 24-hour period in the history of the state and a few weeks ago Canadian wildfires brought some of the most unhealthy air that state has seen in a generation. The Sunday storm is being described as a 1,000-year event that resulted in only the second time ever, the National Weather Service issuing a flash flood emergency in the state. The last time was Hurricane Ida.

Calling weather events such as this as “the new normal, Gov. Hochul added, “Right now, we are in the midst of an extraordinary, extraordinary weather event that has just devastated communities. We must change our behavior as a planet, as a country, as a state, and in our own homes, and we’re going to continue that conversation in earnest because we have to know that we have to do everything in our power to protect our citizens.”

The storm caused significant flood damage to residences, roads and to Metro North’s Hudson line.

Yesterday, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, and U.S. Rep. Pat Ryan urged FEMA to stand ready to approve any request from New York State for a major disaster declaration following the severe flash flooding that has rampaged through the Hudson Valley and other communities across Upstate NY over the past 24 hours. The representatives specifically referenced Orange and Ontario Counties as being particularly battered by the heavy downpours that caused severe flooding that destroyed homes, washing away roads and bridges.

“Over the past 24 hours, Orange County and communities across the Hudson Valley and Upstate have been battered by heavy downpours that caused historic levels of flooding, widespread damage, and tragically, at least one death,” said Sen. Schumer. “This loss of life and extensive damage to homes, businesses, and transportation infrastructure is devastating and will likely total tens of millions of dollars in costs suffered taking months and months to repair, according to my early discussion with those on the ground. From Highland Falls and West Point to Cold Spring and Stony Point, this catastrophic flooding has wreaked havoc on the Hudson Valley and areas across Upstate NY, and with more rain expected to fall, FEMA needs to mobilize its Disaster Assessment Teams and stand ready if requested by New York State to swiftly approve any forthcoming requests from the state for assistance to help these communities recover.”

In an update last night, state officials noted that MTA Metro-North Railroad previously announced a partial restoration of train service on the Hudson Line beginning this mornig (July 11). Hudson Line trains will operate between Grand Central Terminal and Peekskill at least once per hour. Metro-North will continue to provide limited bus service for essential travelers between Croton-Harmon and Poughkeepsie, with buses departing Croton-Harmon on a load-and-go basis. Buses will make stops at Croton-Harmon, Beacon and Poughkeepsie. There is no substitute service provided at Manitou, Garrison, Cold Spring and New Hamburg. Bus service on the Upper Harlem Line between Southeast and Wassaic will continue on Tuesday at least through mid-day, making all station stops.

Not including county and local roads impacted by the storm, as of last night, the following state roads remained closed:

State Route 218 is closed in both directions between Storm King Highway and Town of Cornwall/Town of Highlands line, Town of Cornwall, Orange County
Palisades Parkway is closed in both directions Between exits 14 and 18, Town of Highlands, Rockland County
State Route 32 is closed in both directions at Troutbrook Rd, Woodbury, Orange County
U.S. 6 is closed in both directions between NY 293 and Palisades Parkway Ramp, Woodbury, Orange County
U.S. 6 is closed in both directions between NY 9D and Annsville Circle, Cortlandt, Westchester County
U.S. 9W is closed in southbound directions north of NY 218 Exit, Highlands, Orange County
U.S. 9W is closed in both directions area of NY 293, Highlands, Orange County
U.S. 9W is closed in both directions at Old State Rd, Highlands, Orange County
State Route 32 is closed in both directions at Woodbury Rd, Woodbury, Orange County
U.S. 9W is closed in northbound directions at Bear Mountain Circle, Highlands, Orange County
U.S. 9W is closed in both directions between Seven Lakes Drive and S Entrance Road, Stony Point, Rockland County
U.S. 9W is closed in both directions at Mine Dock Rd, Highlands, Orange County
Palisades Parkway is closed in southbound directions between U.S. 9W; U.S. 6; end route and Exit 15; Old Gate Hill Road; County Route 10, Highlands, Orange County
U.S. 9W is closed in northbound directions south of Stoney Lonesome Rd, Highlands, Orange County
State Route 980U is closed in northbound and southbound directions between U.S. 9W and State Route 218, Highlands, Orange County
State Route 292 is closed in both directions between State Route 292; State Route 311; State Route 55, Patterson, Putnam County
State Route 17 is closed in eastbound directions on ramp to exit 130A, Woodbury, Orange County
State Route 132 is closed in both directions South of U.S. Route 6, Town of Yorktown, Westchester County
State Route 448 is closed in both directions east of North Broadway, Mount Pleasant, Westchester.

John Jordan
Editor, Real Estate In-Depth