Catskills Towns Still Bear Scars on Anniversary of Hurricane Irene

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Towns in the Catskills are still recovering from Hurricane Irene one year after the storm washed out roads and ripped apart homes and businesses.

"There are places where a lot of work still has to be done," said Lissa Harris, editor of the Catskills news blog Watershed Post.

The state of recovery depends on where you’re standing. Many towns in Schoharie, Greene and other nearby counties are still working to resurrect their Main Streets. In Margaretville, there’s an empty lot where a CVS once stood.

“There are definitely scars that the flood has left on the town that are very much still visible,” she said. “Yet the downtown has a vitality to it that is almost more vibrant than it was before the flood, and so you really have both situations right next to each other.”

Many towns still don’t have supermarkets. Prattsville, one of the areas hardest hit, re-opened its supermarket 19 days after and became a clearinghouse for information on the recovery. It, like several other municipalities, has used local, state and federal resources to help with the rebuilding, according to Julia Reischel, publisher of the Watershed Post.

“Most of the municipalities around here have cobbled together sets of FEMA money, state grants, a lot of local fundraising,” she explained.

Irene was a Tropical Storm when it hit New York City on August 28, but it gained steamed as it headed north into the Hudson Valley and Catskills, bringing heavy rain and causing flash floods.