Learning from the 2006 Flood
6/27/2012 (Updated 10:58:07 PM)(Source: Travis Eldridge)
BINGHAMTON -- The scenes are eerily similar from 2006 and 2011. Water flowed over river banks and washed away homes, but when it came to alerting the public there was a difference between the two floods.
Broome County Executive Debbie Preston, who was then the supervisor of the hard-hit Town of Conklin, remembers well the predicament officials were facing.
"What we had to do in '06 is we were out banging on doors," said Preston. "So a lot of people were left inside, and not evacuated in a timely manner in '06, but with the New York Alert, that is a huge difference. What happened this time, in 2011, people received the alert faster, there was more time."
According to the Susquehanna River Basin Commission, about 300 people had to be airlifted out of the Town of Conklin back in 2006, and more had to be pulled out by boat in other areas. Situations that were prevented as the county started using the New York Alert System, and planned new evacuation routes.
"When this event last year happened, we could put the river forecasts into the model, and come up with inundation mapping for the municipal leaders, town supervisors, the mayors to work with us to develop evacuation plans," said Broome County Director of Emergency Services Brett Chellis.
However while the reaction this past September was better than six years ago, Preston and Chellis know there's more to be done in case of another flood.
"The stream management, both the creeks and all that along with the main stem rivers, what can be worked out with the DEC and Army Corp that makes sense, and is cost effective," said Chellis.
Preston said she continues to ask for more state and federal funding to work on ways to prevent this type of damage from happening again. But she hopes that mother nature cooperates and the area doesn't have to be tested again.
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