By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
MORRIS — Heavy rains Saturday, July 17, led to massive flooding in the western part of Otsego County and left officials in several towns and villages assessing the damage Sunday morning.
Main Street in Morris looked like a disaster zone, Sunday, July 18, with construction crews and the Morris Fire Department working to clean up the damage from the previous night’s storm.
Morris FD officials said nearly every business was damaged by flooding, with water reaching as a high as a foot at a certain point and rain fall accumulating to three and half inches in less than an hour.
“We’ve got a lot of businesses that are hurt,” said Morris Mayor Mike Newell. “We’re just cleaning up because that’s all we can do.”
Firefighters were in the process of emptying water from the businesses one by one. The damage of one business from the outside looked dire with water soaking up everything and items scattered about completely ruined.
Firefighters said that bridges connecting to Gilbertsville were “completely wiped out” and that Gilbertsville was impossible to reach. Those firefighters said they had been working between 6 p.m. Saturday until 2 a.m. Sunday before beginning again at 11 a.m.
According to county officials, state Route 51, and county Route 18 and county Route 4 were closed as they neared Gilbertsville.
The damage was so extensive Newell said he hoped Gov. Andrew Cuomo would declare an emergency, so they can make of use of money from FEMA. However, Bob Thomas, village historian, didn’t think that was likely because the damage only seemed to hit Otsego County and he said you need multiple counties in order to receive money from FEMA.
One fire captain, who only wished to be identified by his title, said he hadn’t seen flooding like this since 2006.
“It’s an act of God. What are you gonna do?” he said.
He said a nearby stream had been “a point of contention for years” and he wasn’t surprised it led to flood damage.