Thunderstorms cause Tivoli flooding

The massive and prolonged thunderstorms the night of June 25 caused so much flooding in Tivoli that Mayor Bryan Cranna declared a state of emergency in order to deal with the aftermath.

And in Rhinebeck, a lightning strike the same night caused a fire that damaged a residence on Pells Road and sent the residents fleeing.

Cranna told the Observer that the Tivoli pump house alarm started sounding at 10:30 that night after 4.8 inches of heavy rain fell in a very short time.

“We had massive flooding,” he said, adding that when he toured the Tivoli Acres area behind the ball fields, “the water was up to the hood of my car and I’m not exaggerating.”

According to the mayor, some of the worst flooding was in Tivoli Acres, while part of Clay Hill Road was washed away, leaving a hole 4 feet by 25 feet long. Sections of Friendship Street down by the river were washed out, and there was some damage to Broadway, which is a county road. Because of high, rushing water at the time, safety concerns kept the Department of Public Works workers from accessing one of the pumps, and the drains couldn’t keep up with the rain.

On the morning of June 26, Cranna declared his state of emergency, issuing an executive order allowing the village to purchase what was needed to deal with the damage.

By noon that day, Cranna said the water had receded.

Cranna thanked the DPW, the Tivoli Fire Department, the Dutchess County Department of Emergency Response, the county executive and the Town of Red Hook for all their help.

“I would expect this to be a very expensive repair for the village of Tivoli,” he said.

In the Rhinebeck incident, the lightning struck a home at 169 Pells Road, but the fire it started smoldered within the walls for an hour before the residents noticed smoke.

The owners, Dr. Martin Silverstein and his wife, safely evacuated with their two animals, according to a Rhinebeck Fire Department news release.

According to the news release, the house apparently was struck by the lightning sometime after 7pm, and firefighters were dispatched at 8:21 pm.

The news release added, “The fire was located within the rear wall of the basement and first floor area of the home, above and below the fireplace. Within this enclosed wall area, the lightning arrester grounding cable was located and the electric charge running through the cable from the lightning strike caused the fire to ignite and smolder within the wall area, going unnoticed for an hour.”

Firefighters opened the wall and extinguished the fire with a hose stream. The home sustained smoke and minimal fire and water damage and remained habitable after the fire.

Firefighters, under the command of Chief Kevin Asher, remained at the scene until 10pm during heavy rain, lightning, and thunderstorms.

Assisting at the scene or on standby were the Hillside, Milan, Red Hook, Rhinecliff, and Tivoli fire departments. Also on the scene were State Police and Northern Dutchess Paramedics.

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