Worst flooding ever for Binghamton area
By Steve Seepersaud
A devastating flood hit the Binghamton area for the second time in just five years. Heavy rains totaling more than seven inches inundated the region on Wednesday, Sept. 7, causing the worst flooding ever seen in the area.
Just as in 2006, Binghamton University took in local residents who were forced to leave their homes. The shelter at the Events Center quickly reached capacity by Thursday evening, housing more than 1,700 evacuees. The West Gym, housing more than 100 people with serious medical issues, also reached capacity. Hundreds of students and staff members continue to lend a helping hand, providing evacuees with food and basic supplies. Sodexo Campus Services has provided food for evacuees throughout the sheltering. (See a photo slideshow of the campus community's outpouring of support.)
The University canceled classes Wednesday evening, all day Thursday and Friday, and through the weekend. While the main campus was in fairly good shape after the rainstorm, the University Downtown Center sustained serious flood damage, so classes have been reassigned to the Vestal Parkway campus until further notice. Classes at the main campus resumed Monday, Sept. 12.
"I'm doing okay. Neighborhoods around me are flooded but my house is safe so far! Prayers to everyone else!" tweeted Nicole L. Nazak '11 the day after the storm.
"We were evacuated out of Johnson City because the reservoir/dam could be compromised. So far, so good, though!" tweeted Jackie McKenna '06.
"As relieved as I am that the University was largely spared from this latest flooding disaster (and especially that it could help as an evacuation shelter), I am beside myself thinking about the damage done to the surrounding community," Alumni Association President Raymond G. Russolillo '80 posted on Facebook. "I encourage all alumni to think of the Binghamton area and consider a donation to the Southern Tier Chapter of the American Red Cross or any other local Broome County charity that will be assisting in the clean up and rebuilding of the community."
Binghamton University President C. Peter Magrath commended everyone involved in the efforts and asked for patience as the campus continues to meet the community's needs.
"As the flood waters begin to recede, we are left once again with the devastating aftermath and the opportunity to reflect upon how Binghamton University and the Southern Tier have become partners, in both good times and bad," Magrath says. "I extend my gratitude and admiration to those folks — you know who you are — who have contributed to this colossal endeavor in ways for which I cannot compensate. It is at these moments that I am both humbled and proud to serve as president here. And I am proud of the individuals — from both campus and community — who work tirelessly to support the needs of the Southern Tier."
If you would like to help the Binghamton flood relief effort, the United Way of Broome County welcomes your support at the organization's website.