Hurricane season hits New York

New York State is in recovery from August's Hurricane Irene, which severely affected parts of downstate New York, and the recent flooding in the Binghamton area.

Hurricane Irene was a Category 1 storm with winds over 74 mph. On the south shore of Long Island in particular, many residents of the low-lying coastal neighborhoods were ordered to evacuate. Nearly 350,000 homes were without power for several days following the storm.

Junior Adam Lashinsky's hometown, Bellmore, was one of the evacuated neighborhoods. He and his family learned of the evacuation order while he was moving back to Geneseo for the fall.

"We were moving in when we heard the news that the floods were going to start taking out parts of Long Island, so my parents had to rush back," Lashinsky said. "The storm was going to hit on Sunday, and they left at four in the morning."

New York's Hudson Valley was also severely affected by the storm. The area received more than a foot of rainfall, leaving many roads impassable, including the New York State Thruway from Westchester County to Albany.  

Junior Olivia Derella's hometown of West Nyack in Rockland County experienced heavy rains, flooding and power outages.

"A lot of my town is built on swamplands, so it gets really bad flooding," Derella said. "The two major streets of West Nyack … were completely evacuated because of all of the flooding and the reservoirs overflowing … A lot of businesses had to close down for several days."

More recently, the Binghamton area, as well as parts of northern Pennsylvania, suffered heavy flooding due to torrential rainfall from remnants of Tropical Storm Lee. According to the National Weather Service, the Susquehanna River crested above 38 feet, below the top of the levee system. Nearly 20,000 people were forced to evacuate and thousands have been staying in shelters, including one Red Cross shelter located in a Binghamton University gymnasium.

Logan Mahlum, a junior from Binghamton, said she was worried for her family in the aftermath of the storm.

"My family lost power last week, but we live on a big hill and didn't have any major damage. My aunt who lives in Endwell … had flood water up to her door," Mahlum said. "My dad's [office] was flooded and contaminated and they don't know when he will be able to go back. [He works at] BAE Systems in Johnson City and a lot of employees including my dad are concerned about having a job if the plant closes permanently."

As of Sept. 13, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency announced that federal aid had been made available to the state of New York, specifically to affected individuals in Broome, Chenango, Delaware, Otsego and Tioga counties.

In addition, Livingston C.A.R.E.S., Geneseo's own non-profit public charity, has established a Flood Relief and Recovery Fund. The charity will also assist campus organizations, groups, departments or individuals interested in organizing a work trip to assist communities affected by the flooding.

 Fund donations should be made out to the Flood Relief Fund and sent to Livingston C.A.R.E.S. at the Center for Community in Union Room 353.