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Port Chester Daily Voice serves Port Chester, NY

Rye Brook: One Year After Hurricane Irene

RYE BROOK, N.Y. — In the year since Hurricane Irene hit Rye Brook and Port Chester, the village has taken efforts to address dam flooding and its communications efforts to residents.

“Every storm brings on new challenges and we learn from each one,” said Rye Brook Village Administrator Christopher Bradbury. “We have a [flooding] plan in place for a number of years and we continue to revise that plan based on each experience from each storm. We’ve done several stormwater projects.”

Since the storms, the Village of Rye Brook, along with the City of Rye and the Town of Harrison, have taken significant steps toward flood mitigation. In late March, the three communities entered into an intermunicipal agreement leading to the approval of a sluice gate to be installed inside the Bowman Avenue Dam . A sluice gate is an automated mechanism within the dam that controls water flow; it is currently under construction by ELQ Industries.

Though the majority of storm flooding occurs in areas along Blind Brook, damaged trees tend to block roadways, fall on houses and vehicles, and cause electrical outages throughout the village. The village’s tree trimming program is ongoing, but has not changed dramatically since the hurricane.

The village’s notification system, however, received an upgrade this year to include phone calls, text messages and emails.

“How we reach out and get more communication to residents is important to us,” said Bradbury. “We have an improved program out there now that is more user-friendly.”

Despite technological upgrades, when a telephone snapped during the storm, blocking emergency vehicles to Oriole Place, first responders got the word out without phones or Internet. Bradbury says, “We knocked on doors and had to communicate that way.”

Calls to the Port Chester village manager and Port Chester Department of Public Works for this story were not returned.

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