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Remnants of Beryl leave parts of Lowville and Lewis County under water

Flooding and debris in the Lewis County town of West Martinsburg.
Amy Douglas
Flooding and debris in the Lewis County town of West Martinsburg.

Wednesday’s storm brought flooding and widespread damage to parts of Lewis County. In Lowville, the streets turned into rivers, with water rushing through neighborhoods and into people’s homes.

“Within a 10-minute span, it went from just a little bit [of water] in the road to the entire road was white water rapids," said Jeremy Lee, who watched the water levels rise in Lowville.

Lee’s mother, grandmother, and their pets had to be evacuated from their home in Lowville.

“It’s like something out of a doomsday movie,” said Lee, who watched as the water rushed down the road of his family’s neighborhood.

“When you’re standing next to some of the rapids, you can hear the sounds of branches breaking, the rocks tumbling down, and the water roaring.”

Lewis County issued a no unnecessary travel advisory on Wednesday afternoon due to the flooding. Lowville Acamedy flooded, as did the school’s new turf field.

Along with severe flooding, people in parts of the North Country including Lewis County braced for themselves on Wednesday for a possible tornado. A tornado was confirmed by radar in the Oswego County town of Redfield near the Tug Hill Plateau. Shannon Reuter was home in Lowville when she first heard about the threat.

“I caught the emergency alert on my phone about the tornado warning shortly after 2 pm, so my son and I camped out in the basement until about 3 when that expired.”

Another tornado warning was issued around 4 pm, so Reuter and her son went back downstairs. It was around that time water started flowing into her home. At its highest level, Reuter had about 7 inches of water in her basement.

“Once everything really started slowing down and the rain stopped and the water stopped coming in so quickly it was just- ‘oh my gosh, what am I going to do?’”

Reuter's sump pump had stopped working and she didn’t have waiters to get down into the basement. Then she says she saw lights from a fire truck outside. They had heard her basement had flooded.

“In that moment, the stress just went away," said Reuter. "It was so amazing to see them here. I don’t

know how they found me, how they knew but it was just one less thing to deal with.”

The local fire crew helped get Reuter's sump pump back on, but heavy rains returned Wednesday evening. At around 7:30 pm, Reuter said it was pouring again and her sump pump was struggling.

Emily Russell covers the Adirondack State Park for NCPR.