Forkston Looks Back at Floods a Year Later

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FORKSTON TOWNSHIP -- It’s been a long road to recovery nearly a year after devastating floods walloped communities in parts of Wyoming County.

Residents in Forkston Township were hit twice, first by Hurricane Irene in late August then again by Tropical Storm Lee in September.

Bradley Bielecki surveys Mehoopany Creek, which runs just yards from his home in Forkston.

While the waters are calm now, that wasn’t the story just one year ago.

“The water was up to here. 16 inches through the house, my yard was destroyed,” said Bielecki. “I spent countless hours. The yard was more than the house.”

This is video and his wife took of the swollen Mehoopany Creek last August, when Hurricane Irene caused the water to flood parts of Forkston.

Roads were covered, bridges washed away, leaving residents stranded for days.

“It’s been quite tough. It’s been a slow process. As you can see our bridge down here still isn’t in, here in town,” said Stuart Otten.

When the bridge on Windy Valley Road washed out, a gravel bridge was put in place.

That also washed out when a second storm, Tropical Storm Lee came through.

Folks stuck on the other side used ropes to get across and get food.

Now a temporary bridge stands.

But people said more needs to be done with debris and trees around the creek or else other rainstorm will wipe them out again.

“So as soon as we get hit water again, they’re going to be coming down the creek.  And the new temporary bridge up there that they put in, is lower than the original bridge and that’s going to act as a dam,” said Bielecki.

“It very could, you know you get a lot of rain. There’s nothing cleaned out and that stuff can come down and block up against the bridges again,” said Otten.

The municipal park was completely flooded out last year. Once the water cleared, debris littered the baseball fields.

Now a year later and the baseball fields are overgrown with grass.

Still people said they’ve done what they could to get by.

“They had to start another baseball field up at Goodwin’s, they were good enough to donate the land so people worked really hard to get something set up for the children,” said Ellen Otten.