Ice jam causes flooding in Plattsburgh, forces some residents to evacuate

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Monday morning, at least 18 homes were evacuated in Underwood Estates, a mobile home park in Plattsburgh.

An ice jam caused the nearby Saranac River to flood.

However, residents like Joe Ramistella at the privately owned property had been monitoring it since Sunday morning.

“It’s a gradual creep. You can actually see it come across by the inch,” said Ramistella.

Monday afternoon, the National Weather Service in Burlington issued an official flood watch for the area. “This is going crazy, coming over the berms back here, due to the ice jam,” said Ramistella.

Song long-term residents told Local 22 & Local 44 reporter Alexandra Leslie off-camera they had never seen anything like this before.

Once Ramistella said he noticed the water rise Sunday, he said getting help from the city proved to be a headache, since the park is private property.

“We blocked the road off, but there’s no machinery or anything, you know? And I mean no one came in to help because it’s private property,” said Ramistella.

Plattsburgh City Police Chief Ken Parkinson said the city had been monitoring the area.

“Once we determine, you know people’s safety is in jeopardy, we have the right to go in and do that determination even though it’s private property,” said Parkinson.

Mayor Colin Read was on scene Monday afternoon. He spoke to residents, and said the city had brought in an excavator to break up the 1500′ ice jam downstream the Saranac River.

Later Monday, Read said the excavator had been of some help, and the water had dropped six inches.

Read says some residents were able to return home, but the city would continue to monitor.

Ramistella, whose home lies closer to the river, said he would stay until the last possible moment.

“I’m not gonna go. I’ve built my berm up around here, cause if they water gets underneath, we’re done. This is six years! It’s not much, but I own it,” said Ramistella.

North Country Chapter of the American Red Cross opened a reception center for those who were evacuated.

Red Cross officials told Local 22 & Local 44 News the center would stay open overnight to provide shelter and other emergency services.

The shelter is at the American Legion on Quarry Road in Plattsburgh.

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