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Irene Floods Mamaroneck, Fills Shelter

MAMARONECK, N.Y. -- Michael Preston and Sharon Laughlin sat outside the community shelter Sunday afternoon waiting for the flood water that nearly submerged small cars earlier in the day on Mamaroneck Avenue to recede.

Laughlin, who was one of 233 residents to register at the shelter, arrived right when it opened at 5 p.m. Saturday. Over 40 others, like Preston, came overnight during the storm.

"Some people are leaving, but new people are coming in," said Town Supervisor Valerie O'Keeffe, from the town's emergency operation center (EOC) at the Weaver Street Fire House -- all of the town's department heads were stationed at the EOC during the storm to improve communication.

Some left the shelter to check on their homes, including one who told Laughlin that her apartment building near Grand Street was "literally gone." By high tide at 10:45 a.m. Mamaroneck Avenue "looked like a river" from Halstead Avenue to North Barry Avenue, said Village Mayor Norman Rosenblum.

About 40 percent of homes in the Village of Mamaroneck, or about 3,300, lost power overnight.

"I think we lucked out," said Rosenblum, who praised the collaborative effort between the two villages, the town and the county. "I think it's a combination of luck and four days of preparation."

Many Mamaroneck and Larchmont residents who lost power were walking the debris-ridden streets early Sunday afternoon. Many stopped by Harbor Island, where a five-foot storm surge carried water onto Boston Post Road by Fenimore Road.

Both the Town and Village of Mamaroneck issued mandatory evacuation orders Friday afternoon. During the storm, both ordered further evacuations in anticipation of high tide, causing damaging storm surges, which reached five feet in the town, according to O'Keeffe.

Town residents along Brookside Drive were evacuated around 4 a.m. Sunday, but the serious flooding occurred in the village, where residents near Old White Plains Road and Mamaroneck Avenue were evacuated Saturday night.

Fenimore Road, between Bishop Avenue and Waverly Avenue, the Jefferson Avenue Bridge, North Barry Avenue and the Flats were all impassable as of 3 p.m. Sunday. Columbus Park, which is the point where the Sheldrake River and the Mamaroneck River meet, was entirely underwater. Rosenblum noted that the streets are re-opening as the water begins to recede.

"The same places that flooded in the 2007 storm flooded," O'Keeffe said.

New York State Assemblyman George Latimer (D – Rye), who walked Mamaroneck Avenue and other effected areas to assess the damage, will seek state and federal aid because he said neither the village, nor its taxpayers, will be able to foot the bill. Latimer, Rosenblum and deputy mayor Louis Santoro expect the response and cleanup will take at least one week.

The Town of Mamaroneck and Larchmont didn't experience as much flooding, but did have many down wires and trees. Con Edison arrived in the town around 1 p.m. Sunday and are at work restoring service, O'Keeffe said.

Ralph Engel, a Larchmont resident, had his power restored within eight hours.

The American Red Cross will remain open until they are needed, said Avril Dennis, volunteer mental health leader for the Metro New York Chapter of the Red Cross in Westchester County. "We're not going anywhere," she said.

Tell us what you saw during Tropical Storm Irene. Submit your stories, photos or videos by e-mailing your town reporter Brian Donnelly at, or by posting them on Facebook.

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