‘You would not believe the devastation’

Orange County. One dead, many motorists stranded as up to eight inches of rain fell on parts of eastern Orange County and elsewhere in the Hudson Valley.

| 10 Jul 2023 | 05:59

New York State Gov. Kathy Hochul joined Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus in declaring a state of emergency after Sunday’s torrential rainstorm resulted in severe flooding and life-threatening conditions across portions of Orange County.

Especially hard hit was the area surrounding the Bear Mountain Bridge, with flooded and washed-out roadways. In Highlands, an unidentified woman lost her life attempting to evacuate her home as rising floodwaters swept her away.

The eight inches of rain that fell on parts of the area also resulted in Metro-North replacing rail service with bus service on parts of the Hudson Line to start the workweek.

On Monday, Monroe Supervisor Anthony Cardone visited Highland Falls along with Pat Patterson, Monroe’s highway superintendent, to offer assistance.

“You would not believe the devastation there,” Cardone said. “Roads are washed away and they cannot even get to their sewer plant. Pat actually used to be the highway supervisor over there and we were there to let them know that we will do anything we can to help. It is as bad as I think you will ever see.”

Closer to home, Cardone said Monroe wasn’t hit nearly as hard, with town personnel tending to clogged culverts and flooded catch basins. One resident was assisted after their driveway washed away.


In the Village of Woodbury, conditions were not as forgiving, as village highway department workers spent a good portion of the day rescuing motorists stranded in their vehicles on Trout Brook Road between Route 32 and Smith Clove Road.

“The flooding was bad,” said Mayor Andrew Giacomazza. “Many residents sustained water damage to their homes. We had highway, police and volunteer fire and EMS personnel all over the place on Sunday.”

Woodbury Fire Department Chief Chris Burke said his department responded to nearly 30 storm-related calls Sunday and Sunday night.

“This is the worst flash flooding I have seen in 17 years with the department and that includes Tropical Storm Irene,” Burke said. “In addition to the rescues on Trout Brook Road, which has been closed by the county, we sent manpower up to Route 6 near the Long Mountain traffic circle where 15 to 20 vehicles were stranded coming from Seven Lakes Drive. I’d say we helped rescue close to 40 people there.”

Burke added that Smith Clove Road between Pine Hill Road and Trout Brook Road was open to limited traffic Monday afternoon and will need repairs.

Elsewhere in Orange County

Not all areas were hit as hard. In Goshen, for example, things were for the most part back to normal Monday afternoon.

“Other than some outflow into backyards in some of our subdivisions, we faired pretty well considering we received four-and-a half inches of rain in 12 hours,” Goshen Supervisor Joseph Betro said. “The runoff and drainage systems worked well.”

Similar assessments in the storm’s aftermath were reported by officials in Chester, Greenwood Lake, Tuxedo, Tuxedo Park and Warwick.

“Actually, knock on wood, we came out of it pretty well,” said Warwick Supervisor Michael Sweeton. “A couple of downed trees and flooding but nothing severe and no infrastructure damage. This portion of the county seems to be OK. Unfortunately, the eastern portion didn’t fair quite as well.”

Alena DeLuise provided additional reporting.