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Flood Fears Realized - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Flood Fears Realized

Champlain, New York - March 15, 2007

Main Street in Champlain, New York, turned into a river around 1:30 Thursday afternoon. An ice jam forced the Great Chazy River over its banks.

"I looked out the window and it was too late. Water was a foot high. They came and got me in a bucketloader," said Champlain resident James Franklin.

Franklin was one of more than a dozen people who had to be evacuated. Rescue crews in heavy equipment made sure no one was trapped.

"That's what small towns are all about, we're there for each other, we're volunteer fire departments. These guys that are out here, makes me proud," said Buffy Little of Rouses Point.

The Red Cross set up an emergency shelter at the Knights of Columbus for anyone who needed a place to go.

"We have things in our disaster plan set in place for situations like this. Red Cross is prepared," explained Deanna LaPier of the American Red Cross.

Locals say this is not the first time this river has flooded-- it's practically a rite of spring. But it's usually not this bad.

"Just about every year, Mother Nature has her way of working her magic," said Little.

In fact, the bar at the center of the flooding is named the Flood Zone.

"Appropriately named," smiled Little.

"The river takes a big wide bend here. It's a common problem year after year to have ice jam and water builds up behind it," said Eric Day of Clinton County Emergency Services.

Emergency crews said years of practice have prepared them for this flood too.

"We've got some of the local construction companies in here with excavators trying to clear a path through the jam to let water start flowing and eventually the jam will move down the river," explained Day.

Crews expected to work well into the night making sure the worst was over.

Kate Duffy - Channel 3 News

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