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Washed out, lit up: Storms flood streets, lightning strikes county building

Wednesday, June 04, 2014 - Updated: 10:31 AM

By NICOLE ANTONUCCI and CAROLINE MURRAY

Flooding, buckling roads and power outages were reported as a result of the thunderstorms that passed through the area Tuesday afternoon.

Montgomery County Emergency Management Director Jeffery Smith said the Montgomery County Office Building on Broadway in Fonda was struck by lightning, and caused half the phones to go off-line.

"We believe the radio tower on the top of the building was struck, but the only thing it affected was the county phones," Smith said.

Smith said his department continued monitoring the storm throughout the night. He said the phones were back in service Wednesday morning, and several areas in the county experienced flooding, including the city of Amsterdam.

Amsterdam Fire Department Battalion Chief Mike DePasquale said manhole covers popped up on both Vrooman Avenue and Church Street.

"Outside of that everything, was routine for a thunderstorm," DePasquale said.

Amsterdam Police Department Officer Angie Kercado-Clymer might be the exception; she was caught in the midst of the thunderstorm when she tried to barrel through a flooded area at the end of Broad Street on the South Side of the city.

Kercado-Clymer said she did not realize how deep the water was and thought her patrol car would make it through the murky pool of water.

Around 4 p.m., her car stalled and eventually became stuck in a giant puddle. She was able to make it out of the flooded area without getting injured or wet.

She refused to disclose how she personally avoided the three-to-four foot deep puddle.

"At least let that be a mystery," Kercado-Clymer said.

APD officer Carl Rust picked up Kercado-Clymer. The two officers waited as Vern's Auto Body and Sales tow truck driver Larry Putman towed the car out of the water.

Putman had to wait for the water to drain and the flood to subside before hauling the patrol car out of the area.

Putman said Tuesday was not his first time bailing a patrol car from a flooded area, and believed Kercado-Clymer's car was totaled.

Residents of Broad Street came out of their homes to express frustration over the flood, including Larry Chase, of 32 Broad St., who said the road floods each time a thunderstorm occurs.

Chase blamed the city for inferior storm water drains, which are situated between two stone walls just 50 feet from Dave's Landscaping.

"How are emergency vehicles supposed to get through here?" Chase said.

Amsterdam Department of Public Works crews arrived on scene about 20 minutes later to clean up the area.

DPW employee Phil Bracchi said Broad Street's flooding is caused by mulch and grass shavings that clog up the drains.

Bracchi said it was not the city's fault.

"We can't control what goes in there," he said.

Other incidents in the city included a buckling road at the intersection of Vrooman Avenue and Teller Street.

Fort Johnson Fire Department reported flooding on upper Van Dyke Avenue and McDonald Drive, which was caused to backups in the stormwater drains.

Firefighter Martha Bastini said the water began to go down after they unclogged the drains.

National Weather Service meteorologist Brian Frugis said a flash flood warning was issued by the National Weather Service for the area until 6:28 p.m. Tuesday evening.

Frugis said they are forecasting partly sunny skies and temperatures reaching upper 70 degrees today. He said there is a chance scattered rainfalls will reach the area, but nothing compared to Tuesday's weather.

"It should be quieter," Frugis said.

     

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