It's been a year since Hurricane Irene hit parts of Central New York. Last year this time, Eyewitness News spent time speaking with residents as they cleaned out their homes, applied for FEMA aid, and looked at the flood damage and wondered what they were going to do.
Eyewitness News Reporter Jennifer Lee spoke with residents in the Village of Whitesboro Tuesday night on how they've recovered.
"The water was up over our fuse box. We lost our furnace, washer, dryer and water heater," explained Jim Lawler, a long-time Whitesboro resident.
Lawler says it was his first time ever experiencing something like it. "Debris from other people's yards was floating down. Their trash came this way," said Lawler.
"People lost probably a lot of memories," said Mike Boehlert.
Jim and his neighbor Mike live on the corner of Mohawk and Sauquoit Streets in the Whitesboro.
They say this time last year most of their neighbors were under water. It was so deep that they say children were out in their row boats playing. But, they say Hurricane Irene wasn't the one that did the most damage.
Just two weeks later, Tropical Storm Lee caused a bigger headache for them.
"I had my fingers crossed it wasn't going to get worse than the first one. The second one was a hell of a lot worse," said Lawler.
Community members say the Sauquoit Creek overflowed multiple times last year. And they're relieved to finally see the state fix the problem. "They dredged out the creek over here. I imagine it will get a lot better over here as the water will run off," said Lawler.
Although the creek may be cleaned out, Mike says it will never be the same for him and his neighbors.
"[Jim] had years of stuff. You could walk in here and knew where everything was. After the flood you didn't know where anything was," said Boehlert.
They say FEMA covered some damages, replacing their washer and dryers. And, even though personal items can never be replaced, they say life goes on.