Mitigation efforts began immediately with the placement of sandbags around basement entry points. Malone Town Supervisor Howard Maneely says the sediment has worked its way down the river and in places where the river was once 20 feet, it is now only four or five feet.
"We're on a list to be fixed, but we never move on the list. We're caught in the middle," said Maneely.
Maneely says crews worked as hard as they could to try and protect the homes along the river.
"We sandbagged around two homes yesterday," said Maneely.
"You can look over there, it's over the top of them now," added Lamica.
But the cold temperatures Wednesday night caused more ice to back up and the water overran the sandbags. And the situation is still getting worse.
"It's not done with yet. You see going back toward the Village of Malone it's getting higher and higher," said Maneely (http://bit.ly/126Nf9r).
Reverse 911 calls went out to all of the affected homes and the surrounding concerning the rising flood waters. At 5:00am on the 24th the water crossed the road and the decision to declare a State of Emergency was made by the Town Supervisor, Howard Maneely.
The Malone firemen and Franklin County Emergency Services assisted in the evacuation of 4 homes. The temperature remained 10-20 below zero for 3 days, along with steady winds. During that afternoon another home was evacuated bring the total to 5 for the day.
The fire department had the power company cut the power to 8 homes due to the electrical hazards. The flood waters began infiltrating 2 other homes about a quarter mile south of the first flood area forcing an evacuation and power removal as well.
The next day, the 25th, the water in this secondary flood area fluctuated up and down all day, rising and dropping up to 3 feet. The 26th brought more of the same in both areas. On Sunday the 27th, the water level in the initial flood area rose to over four feet on the roadway. This caused six homes to endure over two feet of water on the first floor of their homes. Several small out buildings were destroyed by the ice and water. Today, the water seems to have dropped some in the roadway. The private sewer systems and water wells of 15 residences have been compromised and contaminated with flood water.
Overall, 10 homes have been evacuated and the power removed. The Red Cross is sheltering one family in a local motel and the remainder of the evacuees are staying with other family members.
The ice jam remains about 3000 feet long with solid ice downstream until the McComb Dam. The village of Malone’s sewer disposal plant sits approximately three feet above the ice jam area and has not yet been compromised. With the forecast of warm weather and rain over the next couple of days, the ice could start melting and waters rise, putting the plant at risk.
This has been an ongoing problem for over ten years but has been progressively getting worse. Due to the amount of silt and sand build-up in the Salmon River, the water level in this area has gone from approximately 20 feet to less than 4 feet under normal conditions. The extreme cold weather caused a significant amount of frazzle ice to form along the Salmon River and settle in this area. The freezing of this frazzle ice causes a massive build-up of ice and thus caused the river to overflow its banks and flow down the street.
Town officials have blocked off Lower Park Street and advise no one to drive or try to walk through the flooded area, even if it appears to be solid ice.