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Flooding came quickly, but the cleanup will be slower

New York National Guard
via Flickr

The rains that caused severe flooding and damage in central and northern New York last week came quickly, but the cleanup will be much slower.

“I’m just plugging away, day by day and getting a little bit further each day, you know,” said Steven Loucks. His Oneida home was flooded with several feet of water last week.

“My basement was completely flooded. It did not hit my first floor though, which is a good deal. But my basement, my furnace, my hot water heaters; I just got two new hot water heaters,” he said.

Loucks’ appliances in his basement were destroyed. He also lost two snowmobiles that were left on a trailer in his backyard, and he may have to replace his pool.

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer visited Oneida Wednesday and reassured homeowners that help would soon arrive from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, known as FEMA.

“It’s our job to make sure the federal government is there,” Schumer said. “The good news is that FEMA is a lot better today than it was five, six years ago. They’re more flexible, they’re quicker, they’re more nimble, they’re more agile. We made sure that happened particularly after [Superstorm] Sandy.”

The state has already asked President Obama to declare Madison County and 14 others in the region federal disaster areas, which would allow residents access to more FEMA assistance.

For Loucks, the money can’t come soon enough. He says his damage was inconvenient but manageable. He says he hopes FEMA will cover a good portion of his losses.

“I’m hoping it can go fast, but I think it’s going to take awhile,” he said. “Some people say it’s going to take a month or two. But I just can’t give you an accurate answer on that.”

And with rain expected to fall on and off through the weekend, residents in the Mohawk Valley are just hoping there won't be more damage before they recover from last week's flood.