Picking up the pieces after storm

04/05/2010 12:00 AM |


A chair washed up into the traffic circle on Middle Road
just west of Horton Avenue. See slide show

As of Thursday, about 15 houses on Horton Avenue in Riverhead remained
completely or partially surrounded by water from this week’s storm,
with between eight and 12 residents still forced to live with friends
or in area motels.
Both Riverhead Town and Mother Nature, which
blessed the region with sun and above average temperatures, were
working in tandem to dry the devastated block.
Many houses not overtaken by water did see severe basement flooding.
Highway Department pumps had been running since Tuesday night to clear
water from Osborn Avenue, just north of Route 58, and in the middle of
Horton Avenue. The water from Osborn is being pumped into the nearby
highway department yard. The water from Horton is being pumped to a
farm field.
“It’s never been this bad before,” said Sherman Trent
Sr., 71, who grew up in the flood-prone neighborhood and whose home is
still underwater.
He said he woke up about 4:15 a.m. Tuesday and saw his home was dry. Four hours later, it was a different story.
looked outside and water was circling my house,” said Mr. Trent. “There
was about five, six feet of water. I had water covering my kitchen
Luckily, he said, he was able to maneuver into his pickup
truck, without even bothering to put on boots, and drive to higher
Others had to be rescued by a Highway Department payloader.
Superintendent George “Gio” Woodson said about eight people were
evacuated from the area using the payloader’s bucket. Riverhead Police
used a boat to evacuate others.
“That was crazy because it was a
propelled boat, which meant there had to be at least three feet of
water,” said Ryan Jiudice, whose Middle Road home sits adjacent to the
flooding but was not affected. “I actually didn’t even understand the
impact right away until I saw it on the news. The water was up to the
An estimated nine inches was pumped from Horton Avenue
between Wednesday and Thursday morning, Mr. Woodson said, though, he
added, the water on Osborn Avenue seemed be actually be getting deeper.
He figured both roads would be cleared within a few days.
“That doesn’t mean people are going to be able to live there, though,” he said.
seven and eight inches fell in areas of Riverhead Town during the
storm, which spanned four days, National Weather Service officials said.
state Department of Environmental Conservation also had work crews at
Horton Avenue Thursday to deal with home heating oil spills.
have no estimate of product recovered, but a typical home heating tank
can hold a maximum of 250 gallons of product when full,” said spokesman
Bill Fonda. “DEC has found one home heating oil tank that was tipped
over at an Osborn Avenue home. Spill response personnel are searching
the area to see if there are additional tanks.”
DEC contractors are expected to be at the site through Friday or beyond, he said.
are essentially trying to corral the product where they are using
sorbents and a vacuum truck to remove the product from the water,” he
The sorbents are used to soak oil from water.
Mr. Trent,
who was found surveying the damage Thursday morning, said he was able
to wade though the water to his home after the storm, where he found
“everything turned upside down.”
He had planned to head over to mass on Sunday to celebrate Easter.
“I don’t think that’s happening,” he said.
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