Salmon Riiver floods Malone residents - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Salmon River floods Malone residents

Malone, New York - January 16, 2012

All eyes are on the Salmon River in Malone, New York, where ice on the river has forced residents from their homes.

Rupert Lamica watched as the water rose around the home he shares with his girlfriend on Lower Park Street. The home typically sits 60-feet back from the river -- now it's part of it.

Down the street, the water continues to inch closer to Ronnie Benware's home. "Not much can be done with sandbagging. Once the water starts coming down the road, then it's done,"  Benware said.

Emergency officials say the flooding is not being caused by an ice jam, but a build up of frazzle ice, which is slushy. The backup is nearly 24-hundred feet long. As many as ten homes are in potential danger.

"We had a lot of rain last week. Thursday and Friday we received more rain then we did snowfall, that put more water into the river, therefore we have more water that is trying to get down through the river right now and it freezes up," said Rick Provost, Franklin County's Emergency Management Director. "There is water underneath the entire thing. It just keeps pushing up until it finds a hole to get out."

Provost says he expect the problem to get worse before it gets better. "We are looking at a moderate warm up today, 30 today, and tomorrow 35 to 40 degrees -- that's going to put more water into the river," he said.

Residents impacted by the flooding say Mother Nature is not the only one to blame. They say a buildup of silt has gone neglected for years. County officials say the river has been dredged and the Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of Environmental Conservation are studying the situation.

"I think there is some bottleneck in that river from years of sand and silt washing down the river. It just doesn't have the flow to carry the frazzle ice," Provost said.

Area residents like Brenda Hence say they feel helpless because all they can do is watch and wait to see how high the water will go. "This is awful, where do we go from here," she said. "There's nothing I can do, I can't make the water disappear."

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