Thursday, September 8, 2016

Throwback Thursday - The Longing for Home - September 8 2011

September 8, 2011.

Under the watery lash of Tropical Storm Lee, it is the turn of our area of upstate New York floods, days after Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene pounds other areas of the Northeast, to taste disaster.

You can still see some of the damage.
Once known as Air Force Plant 59, Johnson City, New York
This building in my neighborhood was once one of the largest wood frame structures in the United States before the September 8, 2011 flood ruined it.  Now, it is in the final stages of demolition.

We were on vacation when the flood hit, and you would think our experience would be different from those who experienced it.  You would be right. True, we didn't end up in a shelter as we would have if we were home.  But in other ways, it was harder because of the not knowing.

Until that day, I had no idea how strong the longing of home can be.  It haunted my every waking hour.  Get home...somehow...I must get home....

Not knowing is not a good thing.  Not knowing that the biggest employer in our area would have their facility flooded, to the point that the building could not be salvaged, or that it would take five years for the demolition of that building above (what I call the BAE building in my blog posts) to begin.

Nor did I know about the tragedy at the local Petco, one that made the national news.
This neighborhood is a bit more than a mile from where I live.  The tragic Petco can be seen at about :33 of the video.

I didn't yet know about my neighbor, trying to evacuate, who had to be rescued from his car.  Or if my house would be OK.  Or if my neighbors would be OK.

Here are my two posts from September 8, 2011, with some slight edits.

The Flood Waters Arrive

We spoke to our son a few minutes ago.  The water behind our house is up to our fence meaning any more rain and our back yard is going to flood.  (we are in a 500 year flood zone).  The 500 years may have arrived as our son is fighting what I fear is a losing battle to keep water out of the basement. We have a basement drain and water is coming up it-if he tries to dump down the sink he hears water gurgling - a sump pump would be of no use.

We couldn't get to our home if we wanted to (if we weren't seven hours away on a good day, anyway) as the flood walls are up.  The town erects portable flood walls in several locations and they are up, so our neighborhood is cut off.  My job is closed because downtown Binghamton is in major danger of flooding. They have turned the event center at BU into a shelter and there are other Red Cross shelters set up.

The Weather Channel is broadcasting at the corner of Main and Front St. in Binghamton as I type.  The river is right up to the flood wall.  Downtown itself has never ever flooded.  We will hit record stage this people. People are coming out to gawk. Well I might have been one of them.

All the schools are closed.  There is a long list of closing on a TV channel website - as bad as a major blizzard.  The only good news is - I can now stop talking about Irene.[A tropical storm that hit several days before Lee.]

Wish my son luck.

Upstate NY Flood Update

Our house (occupied by my son) and one neighbors are the only houses not under water in our entire neighborhood. [A note from the year 2016 - this was not true, but as my son was so isolated due to the flood, he could only report what he could see.] The other neighbor is still at home. Everyone else has evacuated.  All the local roads are flooded.  Just spoke to my son. Amazingly our house still has power.  He tried to pump the basement but has given up.  It is eerily quiet. I told him to be safe.  Says he can't sleep because people keep calling him....earlier, he had ridden a bicycle around and took some video which he posted on Facebook.

To my readers wishing for the safety of our house and my son- thank you so very much for your prayers and good wishes.  We don't know what to do at this point - because even if we could get home to our area (which would be very difficult right now) we wouldn't be able to enter our neighborhood without a boat.

And the sun is finally coming out here in Brunswick, Maine.  So we will try to make lemonade, not knowing what the next few days will bring.


  1. Wow! How frightening. I am hoping your home was spared.

    1. Come back in the next couple of days and find out...

  2. "Until that day, I had no idea how strong the longing of home can be." Home, the pull is always there!

  3. Scary stuff. At least this is history now. Memoir. Glad you're not going through it again.

    1. Yes, memoir. But history now? We do fear another flood. The weather is so unpredictible.

  4. What a harrowing experience. Happy all are safe now.

    1. Yes, miraculously, no one was killed in this particular flood - unlike many others.

  5. How scary. Thanks for sharing and so glad everyone is safe.


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