Flooding in northern Franklin County subsides

Franklin County declared a state of emergency Wednesday morning due to flooding in the northern end of the county, but waters were subsiding this morning.

County Emergency Services Director Ricky Provost said he hopes that today officials can reopen roads that were closed because there was water on them. But the water ripped up some roads, with 7- and 8-foot culverts completely torn out, he said.

“We’re going to have some roads that are going to be closed for a few weeks, maybe,” Provost said.

His department put together a quick estimate that there could be about $3.1 million in damage, but he noted that was a rough number based on the size of culverts and the miles of road damaged. He said he was expecting representatives from the state to come help the county evaluate the damage this morning so the county can be ready to apply for state or federal funding if any becomes available.

“That’s a big if right now,” Provost said.

Most of the flooding was along the Salmon River, but there were also some issues along the Deer River, Provost said. He said the north-central part of the county was most impacted, including Duane, Malone, Waverly, Brandon, Bangor and Fort Covington. Fort Covington is the lowest point in the county.

“They’re still feeling it this morning, but the water has started to go down there,” Provost said.

Provost said he didn’t have any reports of damage in the Tri-Lakes area, though he’s been working with Saranac Lake officials to manage water levels on Lake Flower. He said officials are attempting to drain water from the lake as fast as possible, but they can’t open the flood gates too much because there are businesses and residences down the Saranac River that could be impacted.

“It’s a fine line,” Provost said. “We’re letting out as much as we can as fast as we can, but we can’t open it up all the way because we cause more problems downstream.”

The water issues are due to heavy rain in recent days. Provost said the weather forecast doesn’t look great for the next few days, but he’s hoping the rain might hold off and let the water drain and ground dry out.

“If we can get a couple days of reprieve, the bulk of this water should be out of here,” he said.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is forecasting an average of 40 percent rain every day through Monday, except for Saturday, which is supposed to be sunny.

County Manager Tom Leitz declared the state of emergency as of 8 a.m. Wednesday, and it was still in effect this morning.

“We’re going to re-evaluate today,” Leitz said at about 7:30 this morning.

Contact Jessica Collier at 891-2600 ext. 26 or