Persistent Flooding in Yonkers Causing Concern and Search for Solutions

The City of Yonkers was gripped by a state of emergency as torrential rain inundated the region, causing widespread flooding. The overflow of the Saw Mill River submerged streets, homes, and public spaces, prompting swift response efforts from local authorities.

Car in parking lot flood
Parking lot flooding – credit: @BasementPolitics

The Yonkers Fire Department sprang into action to extract water from basements near the Sprain Brook Parkway. Capt. Gene Kelly of the Yonkers Fire Department Special Operations lamented the recurring nature of such events. In remarks to ABC News he stated, β€œWater comes up real quick from the Bronx River, backs into the Sprain, and unfortunately backs into this neighborhood leaving 6, 7, 8 feet of water in these poor people’s basements.”

While Yonkers is no stranger to flooding, previously designated hundred-year flood zones are now experiencing increasingly frequent inundations due to intense rainfall, much like the deluge witnessed on Friday. The situation worsened when a power outage left pumps idle, hindering efforts to control the rising waters.

Yonkers homeowners found themselves grappling with the crisis as water crept into their basements, rendering electrical outlets inaccessible. Across the city, public works crews and firefighters toiled through the night to redirect water away from homes. Yet, the slow receding of floodwaters posed a daunting challenge.

Saving driver in flood
First responders saving flood victims – credit: @Meranteforyonkers

The flooding was not limited to residential areas. Major thoroughfares like the Bronx River Parkway and Saw Mill Parkway also found themselves submerged. Central Avenue turned into a makeshift river, trapping numerous vehicles and necessitating water rescues.

Residents, no strangers to the struggle, have been pleading with elected officials for sustainable solutions. The ongoing crisis has prompted discussions about more substantial and costly protective measures, such as building flood walls.

Response from officials

Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano voiced his concern by highlighting the inadequacy of outdated infrastructure.

Mayor Mike Spano surveying flood damage
Mayor Mike Spano surveying flood damage – credit: @MayorMikeSpano

β€œIt’s just about the amount of rain in that period of time into a system that was designed for weather as it existed 200 years ago. Not weather for 2023.”

His political challenger in this year’s election, City Councilman Anthony Merante, took to Facebook to scold the three-term mayor. After noting the growth of this problem he said, β€œThe extensive β€˜wild overbuilding’ by the mayor is pushing our 100-year-old infrastructure to a breaking point.β€œ

As Yonkers grapples with the aftermath of this latest deluge, the increasing frequency of intense rainstorms underscores the urgency of addressing the city’s vulnerability to flooding and the need for forward-looking infrastructure upgrades. The cost-effective merits of such investments may soon outweigh the price of recurring storm damage.

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Follow the discussion

  1. 1 All buildings above three stories should be limited to the waterfront
    2 The hand pic members of the planning board and zoning board should be removed And each council member should select a person from each zone.
    3 The city should focus on more 1,2 and three family homes. Home ownership we’ll develop better communities less transient neighborhood.
    All departments must do a better job at maintaining the city Especially building in a housing. Several vacant lots remained inviolation over golf of weeds unsafe structures in proper fencing. And the lack of property care by owners who do not reside in the community is adversely affecting properties throughout the city. It’s sad to see that Avalon can build a 500 unit building. Get a Certificate of occupation while a single faimly slash taxpayer can’t put a simple edition on his house within six months and a year due to department of building regulations sometimes is wrong…
    5 Lying to gate has built this message structure. In and around in African American historic church.
    That is that is in serious need of repair.
    I don’t know what it takes, but the lion gate has enough money to assist. The church as a way of thank you for stepping on your toes..

  2. The City of Yonkers is in a massive redevelopment stage today. 5640 new Appartments are either waiting approval or have been approved and the majority of them on the West Side of Yonkers. The COY planning department and engineering departments are fully aware that we do not have the infrastructure to service this vast amount of building. The County of Westchester planning board is also aware of the deficiencies in the Reginal and COY infrastructure for water service, sewer and power. Our political leaders seem to believe that they can allow this massive amount of building to proceed and then deal with the crisis that develop because they allowed it to happen. Needless to say at that time there will be massive flooding that will cause massive overflows at the Southern Westchester Sewage plant that will be forced to pumps sewage or untreated storm water into the Hudson River. Th COY is of course still in massive debt and our political leadership is in hopes of that in some way that the massive development will somehow help the COY work out of this problems but the cost in quality of life to its citizens is what must be weighed on the scale.

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