On Saturday February 25, 2017 at approximately 3:45 p.m., Montgomery County started to receive severe weather from a storm passing through the area. Heavy winds and rain started to cause some trees down, wires down and road flooding.
The Montgomery County Emergency Management/Services Office was monitoring things and responding to local incidents. One major concern was the water level of the Mohawk River, the Otsquago Creek and the Canajoharie Creek. All had risen and were high but the Otsquago Creek again created the largest problem for our area, affecting both the Town of Minden and the Village of Fort Plain.
At approximately 6:15 p.m., the decision was made to do a Hyper-reach call (mass notification) for all homes that live along the Otsquago Creek from the Montgomery County line to the Mohawk River advising of the potential for floodwaters and to ask them to pay attention to local conditions. The Emergency Services staff continued to monitor things as water levels continued to rise, causing us, at approximately 7 p.m., to do another Hyper-reach call, advising the same locations to evacuate their property and report to the Fort Plain Harry Hoag School, where a Red Cross shelter was being established. The decision was made to activate the flood warning siren for the Village of Fort Plain, notifying residents in the area to take immediate caution. The level of the water and the speed of the increase in height had officials very concerned.
Only four people took advantage of the shelter, the rest either reported to family/friends, traveled around or some stayed home. The message for evacuation was sent to 625 people in total.
At 7:15 p.m., Village of Fort Plain Mayor Marianne McFee and Town of Minden Supervisor Cheryl Reese declared States of Emergency for their respective jurisdictions; this information was shared with the State of New York and filed in Albany.
Emergency Management Deputy Coordinators were called in and set up to monitor different locations. After conversations with Herkimer County Emergency Management, the National Weather Service, the Fort Plain Police and Fire Department and the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, it was decided at approximately 9:35 p.m., that it was safe for people to return to their homes as the water levels had dropped and stabilized. The Red Cross Shelter was closed at this time.
The local States of Emergency for the Village of Fort Plain and the Town of Minden will remain in effect until a damage assessment can be performed and a determination made about its cancelation. During the state of emergency travel is allowed, however, please avoid the areas along the Otsquago Creek and always yield to emergency workers. Thank you!