Last year this time, residents of the Rye Patch community faced off with a wily, destructive opponent: Hurricane Irene.
The storm made landfall in this area on August 28 after bumping and crashing the Carolinas and putting Westchester, Rockland and nearby Fairfield counties on full storm alert.
By the time Irene hit the New York coast on Sunday afternoon, it had been downgraded to a Category 1 storm with bracing winds in excess of 60 miles per hour and heavy tide swells to mark its arrival.
Today, Rye Patch checks in with local officials to find out what and how things have changed since Irene barged through the area.
Rye City Mayor Douglas French:
Irene was a quadruple-threat natural disaster in which the heavy amount of rain in the center of Rye, upstream flooding, downstream tidal surge, and high wind damage all converged on the City. The magnitude of this storm cannot be understated. The lessons learned continue to be preparedness and communication at the government, business and resident level.
If you have flooded before, you will flood again so the necessary steps need to be taken to prepare your home or business. If you need assistance, you need to have a plan in place beforehand as well as be active in listening to the weather services and Rye announcements. Everyone should make sure they are on the emergency communication system with nixle.com and our reverse 911 system through Rye PD. We found that because of the pre-storm communication and preparedness that damage was not as significant as previous storms. Financial assistance was available but depended on the individual situation.
Having said that, we have asked our boards and commissions to scrutinize development in the flood plain and adhere to our local regulations. We have established a flood commission to facilitate analysis on additional flood mitigation projects -- one of which is the completion of the sluice gate which is on schedule for September and will help regulate water flow. Other projects are looking at retention ponds upstream or raising the height of the dam. When the right project is identified that meets the cost-benefit and regulatory analysis, we will seek funding. Finally, we are working with the County airport for greater detention at that facility. The combination of all of these efforts will go a long way in mitigation.