Flash flood covers I-87

Flash flooding Wednesday covered most of the Adirondack Northway, Interstate 87, on a day when many were traveling the region’s main highway to get to Fourth of July destinations.

Water covered all four lanes of the Northway in the area of exit 33, the exit for Willsboro, said Don Jaquish, director of Essex County Emergency Services.

He said the storm that caused the flash flooding was short but powerful.

“I don’t know how many inches of rain came down in that storm, but it was tremendous,” Jaquish said.

One lane of the southbound side was closed to traffic for a bit, and the traffic that was let through had to go slowly to be safe.

As for the northbound side, “It was flooded, but people were driving through it – it was crazy,” Jaquish said. “And they weren’t slowing down much, either. It was scary.”

State Route 9, which runs parallel to the Northway, was also flooded and had to be closed in that area.

A railroad line that carries Amtrak passenger trains between Montreal and New York was washed out in the town of Chesterfield, and a train had to be sent back to its stop at Willsboro, Jaquish said. He said Amtrak had to bus the 240 people on board to their destinations.

Jaquish sounded tired Wednesday night after working through three weekends and no days off due to the recent heavy rain.

“This is just an ongoing event,” he said. “I hope that the (weather) pattern changes or shifts or something because boy, the ground is saturated.”

He said May and June together had record levels of rainfall for the area.

Contact Jessica Collier at 518-891-2600 ext. 26 or jcollier@adirondackdailyenterprise.com.