The storm had largely passed, but the rivers kept rising.
Tropical Storm Henri offered a glancing blow to the Sound Shore but brought enough rain to bring the Sheldrake and Mamaroneck Rivers to flood stage Sunday evening.
“The waters went to the edge and then stopped,” Mamaroneck Village Mayor Tom Murphy observed. Water began rising out of storm drains near Columbus Park, Washingtonville, and The Flats. Crews stood by while a small pond formed along Plaza Avenue, and residents shuttled cars to higher ground. Basements flooded, and ground floor parking garages had nearly two feet of standing water. TV news crews documented ducks paddling up to the entryway steps at Park View Condominiums.
The flood was underway but then it just stopped. The flow from upriver lightened, the rain eased and within about 90 minutes green grass and pavement re-emerged, the ducks floated back to the riverbank, while water drained from the parking garages. “We expected it to go much higher,” one building maintenance supervisor told us; He’d seen it before. Three times since 2007 the area has been inundated with flooding that cost hundreds of millions of dollars in damage and at least one fatality. This time we narrowly avoided catastrophe.
The flood-prone area is overdue for an $80 Million flood mitigation project that was unexpectedly shelved last year by the Trump Administration. The Village of Mamaroneck and Westchester County have already earmarked $32 Million for their portion of the cost and the Army Corps of Engineers has assigned a project co-ordinator, but the Trump White House Office of Management and Budget announced 17 months ago the flood mitigation plan “is not consistent with the policy and programs of the President.”
Now, with a new President and a fresh warning from the rivers, Mayor Murphy is again applying pressure to get the project moving. “This underlines the need for the Corps of Engineers project,” he told us. “At the end of the day, it’s the only real solution.” On Facebook Monday he asked residents with pictures or video of the Henri flooding to email them to his office (firstname.lastname@example.org.). “This,” he says “will bolster our case to the Army Corps of Engineers.”