Severe flooding: Mount Pleasant declares state of emergency after Tuesday's storm

Joe Torres Image
Wednesday, July 19, 2023
Severe flooding: Mount Pleasant declares state of emergency after Tuesday's storm
The Mount Pleasant residents of Westchester County, New York clean up after disastrous storm on Tuesday that caused severe flooding. Joe Torres has the story.

MOUNT PLEASANT, New York (WABC) -- A state of emergency was declared in one Westchester County town that was hit hard with severe flooding this week.

The sudden deluge of rain on Tuesday ravaged much of Hawthorne, a Hamlet in the Westchester County town of Mount Pleasant.

Powerful streams of rain water ran down dog paths, bike trails and newly paved roads -- the homes, basements and garages that stood in the way never had a chance.

Public works crews and private contractors labored through the night to clear out the storm drains and re-open roads that were previously under water.

The Farruggia family home became a victim of the storm's reckoning.

"It was a river coming from down here and it just build up 6-7 feet against my garage door and the force of it knocked it back and it flooded the garage and my family room," said homeowner Mike Farruggia.

Thankfully his two young boys were not in the basement where they typically play video games -- the rush of water would have swept them away.

"I was frantically down there, crying, doing what I could to try and get the French drain to work," he said. "Then I ran around back because I have a door leading to the basement, trying to bang it open to actually so it would start draining through the back yard."

Another resident, Wendy Tedesco, was one of many homeowners who shared their flooding nightmare face to face with the town supervisor on Wednesday.

Tedesco had a stream of muddy water poured into her backyard pool and recently installed a upgraded storm drain in front of her garage but given the storm's power it was no match for the sudden deluge.

"As soon as I saw it starting to bubble up over the French drain, the brand new deepened, widened French drain with the new huge pipe, when I saw that it couldn't contain it anymore that it was bubbling up, I knew there was no way," said Tedesco.

The town supervisor quickly recognized the gravity of the monsoon and issued a state of emergency at 3 p.m. after police and rescue crews pulled stranded drivers to safety.

He said phone calls, emails and personal visits from frustrated homeowners have been nonstop.

"You don't know what to say to them, I don't have all those answers," Mount Pleasant Town Supervisor Carl Fulgenzi said. "They ask, 'what are you going to do?' There is nothing I can really personally do."


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