Hurricane Irene Damages in the Adirondacks

Keene NY Fire House Swept Away by Hurricane Irene

The fire house in Keene, New York was swept away by the raging Gulf Brook as a result of Irene’s heavy rain.

The Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York have been badly damaged by Tropical Storm Irene as heavy rain pushed creeks and rivers over their banks, closed roads, and washed away buildings.  Emergency officials are still assessing the damages but already report hundreds of damaged or destroyed roads and bridges.  Essex County officials have declared a state of emergency.

ausable river at ski jumps lake placid hurricane irene

The Ausable River, rain swollen from Irene, breached the bridge at the ski jumps in Lake Placid, New York.

The highways connecting Lake Placid, Keene, and Wilmington were closed due to flooding and washouts, homes were evacuated, high winds toppled trees onto power lines, the county’s emergency radio system was off the air, and many people were stranded by the high water. There are numerous evacuations and the fire station in Keene was swept away by the raging Gulf Brook.  Road closures have effectively isolated many of the region’s small towns such as Keene, Keene Valley, Jay and Upper Jay.

Although forest rangers are still assessing Tropical Storm Irene’s damage to the Adirondack backcountry, they know the bridge over Marcy Dam was washed out Sunday and is gone.  One of the most popular crossings in the High Peaks Wilderness Area, the bridge over Marcy Dam was a favorite rest and photo opportunity spot for hikers.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) spokesman David Winchell said the crossing is now impassable.  Winchell said DEC is encouraging people to stay out of the backcountry as the department evaluates the damage to trails and other facilities.

The view from the Marcy Dam bridge.

From the archives - a view from the Marcy Dam bridge, which was washed away during Tropical Storm Irene.

“We are just beginning assessments,” he said.  “We have received reports of bridges washed away and trails severely eroded in the eastern High Peaks and Dix and Giant Wilderness Areas.”  Winchell said the DEC hasn’t had any reports of injuries as a result of the storm and urges people to stay out of the backcountry because of the risk of landslides.

The Atmospheric Science Research Center (ASRC) at the summit of the Whiteface Mountain recorded 7.5 inches of rain fell from Irene.

roller skiers after hurricane irene

Athletes from the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid are turned back as they attempt to access a devastated road on roller-skis.

Residents of Keene, New York uncover their bicyles.

Residents of Keene, New York uncover their bicycles that had been in a shed swept away by the raging waters created by Irene.

hurricane irene keene ny dartbrook

Irene damage at Dartbrook Rustic Goods in Keene, New York.

hurricane irene keene ny water on hurricane road

Water from Gulf Brook flows over Hurricane Road in Keene, New York.

hurricane irene keene ny hole in road

Hurricane Irene damage in Keene, New York.

hurricane irene damage in Keene, New York.

Hurricane Irene damage in Keene, New York.









hurricane irene keene ny hurricane road

Buckled and undermined Hurricane Road in Keene, New York


  1. Robin

    I hope folks throughout the ADK area are doing okay.

    Any reports from the Bog River/Lows Lake area? We are head there in two weeks.

  2. teleskiqueen

    DEC will release additional backcountry conditions as reports come in from the rangers in the field. Here is the link to the NYSDEC’s trail conditions site: – and stay tuned to Adirondack Lifestyle for more information.

  3. Carol

    So sad to see my Mom’s (Edna) house and so many of the structures in Keene destroyed. Hope everyone and their animals are OK.

  4. Brea

    Just devastating to see this…so many families displaced. A long road ahead for my friends in Keene. Hate seeing my Grandma’s house like this…lots of wonderful memories in that white and green house and in Keene.

  5. teleskiqueen

    It was surreal to walk around Keene this morning. I feel horrible for the community’s loss. My condolences go out to you Carol and Brea, and to your families.

  6. John Frisone

    We have a camp on Gulf Brook just off Jackson Road. We live out of state and wonder if anyone in Keene has information about the condition of structures like ours. We fear our cabin has been washed away in our absence. Any information anyone has would be much appreciated.

  7. Patti

    Is there any damage or problems in Lake George? We are suppose to go camping over the weekend. The weather forcast looks good, but I don’t know if Lake George was hit by Irene. Thanks.

  8. Mike Irrera

    @John – I drove over to your place this morning to check it out. It most certainly did not wash away, but had been surrounded by water. I have more info and photos if you can email me at

    If anyone else is in a similar situation, send me an email and I’ll check your place out, if I can get to it.

  9. Mark Morrissey

    Hey John F., Contact Holly at Simply Gourmet in Lake Placid… she lives in Keene and might be able to help you.

  10. Neil Cowley

    Here’s my photos from the field – it’s a 100+ year event!!!

  11. Susan Bresler

    My son got married Saturday at the Mountain House on Hurricane Road. The wedding was outdoors and magnificent! The rehearsal dinner was on the porch of the Dartbrook Lodge Friday night, prepared by the ADK Cafe and couldn’t have been more beautiful. A few raindrops fell Saturday night as the DJ played the last dance, but that was all. We traveled in and out of Keene all day for a delicious lunch at Tip-A-Canoe (not sure if I spelled it right)and people stayed all over from Lake Placid to Keene Valley.

    We were of course watching the weather and thankful that we got through Saturday, but when we awoke Sunday, the wind was howling, the rain was pummelling the Lodge and just to the left of the end of the driveway, the brook had become a roaring river across the road carrying logs in its path. We couldn’t believe the devastation that occured between one day and the next. We managed to get home to the NYC area on Monday by going out to 9N and across to Elizabethtown, but it wasn’t easy and signs of destruction were all along the way.

    Our hearts go out to everyone in Keene. The people couldn’t have been nicer, more gracious, or more helpful. In fact, the bride was having her nails done in Lake Placid, I believe on Friday, and was bemoaning the fact that there wasn’t one full length mirror at the Mountain House. One of the people in the salon overheard the conversation, remembered a beautiful full length mirror sitting in their garage and drove it down to Keene to loan it to the bride on her wedding day without a word. I’m sorry I don’t know the names of the people involved, but the kindness of their actions was repeated throughout the wedding. My sister has had a camp on Rainbow Lake for over 20 years and the groom (my son) is a 46er, so the love of all the Adirondacks has been part of our collective soul, and we will continue to do whatever we can to restore it to it’s natural beauty.
    Thank you,

  12. Shanny

    Any word on the camps around Lincoln Pond and about Elizabethtown in general? Our family camp is on Lincoln Pond, on Twin Brooks Rd. and we’re very worried about its condition but have no way so far to get any news about it – we live out of state. We’re heartbroken to see pictures from Keene, which is a town we love so much! So sorry for the folks there who are suffering!

  13. Ellen

    I lived in Newcomb for the last 10 years. Moved this winter and it seems I’ve missed not only the record-breaking spring floods, but now also all the damage from Irene. I wish everyone well!

  14. Karen

    Does anyone know how willmington did?

  15. Christy Hile

    Does anyone know anything about Schroone Lake and Word Of Life Bible Institue? TRying to find my sister and family

  16. Donna Schwed

    We will be travelling fro NJ to Olmstedville, NY. Does anyone knows what the roads situation is there, any damages, floods, as well as neighboring villages, Minerva, Pottersville, Chestertown, Schroon Lake, etc, all this area?

    Please reply,

    Thank you

  17. Donna Schwed

    We will be travelling from NJ to Olmstedville, NY. Does anyone knows what is the roads situation there, any damages, floods, as well as neighboring villages, Minerva, Pottersville, Chestertown, Schroon Lake, etc, all this area?

    Please reply,

    Thank you

  18. Patti Stryker

    Hopefully going to travel to Wilmington, NY next week or weekend of the 10th/11. Usually go right through Keene. Anybody know how to get around this area? My heart goes out to all who live and work in this area of the Adirondacks. Be safe and God Bless.

    Please reply,

    Thanks, Patti

  19. Wendy Mullin

    Please post more pictures if possible! I’m wondering about the white house across from the Elm Tree and the road from Keene to Jay. My prayers go out to all the wonderful people in the area and I hope everyone is safe.

  20. Jennifer Marshall

    Neil Cowley, thank you for the pictures you posted. My parents live up off of Alstead Hill Road in Keene. We left their house on Saturday morning to make the drive back to Long Island to prepare for Irene coming up the coast and a part of me really thought we could have been safer staying in the Adirondacks. The pictures of the devastation that has taken place up in my adopted hometown break my heart and all I can do is hope and pray that the strong willed people of Keene and Keene Valley can overcome this second round of disaster. It’s been one hell of year.

  21. Mike Irrera

    I drove around Jay and Wilmington this morning, essentially doing the Ironman bike route, except for the portion of 9N between Keene and Upper Jay, which is still closed.
    Upper Jay is in pretty rough shape. The fire station had been completely submerged, and the shoulder of 9N is washed out in quite a few places, but passable. I did not try go up to Ausable Forks, though, instead heading up 86 toward Wilmington.
    Wilmington seemed in good condition, though I’m sure there was damage to some of the homes by the river. Route 86 is passable all the way to Lake Placid from Jay.
    As far as the white house across from Monty’s (the Elm Tree) – pretty much everything on the corner there was underwater, as the Gulf Brook took over the road. If you mean the white house with red trim across the Gulf Brook bridge on 9N (which was almost washed out) – that one may have fared better. You can see it in one of the photos in a gallery I’ve posted of what I’ve taken over the last couple of days, mostly in Keene:
    Also, here’s the official list of closed roads – it looks pretty accurate to me, from what I know, anyway:

  22. Johnathan Sykes

    I am looking for information on the the Murphys who live in Keene. I am just wondering how they made out. If anyone knows or can contact them please let me know. Its hard not hearing from them.

  23. C. Ferguson

    My heart goes out to everyone in Keene. Keep your chins up and we’ll get up there this fall to suppport you.


  24. Wendy Mullin

    Thanks Mike Irrera for the great photos. Here’s hoping everyone’s ok. Is there a food and clothing drive going on? We’re heading up there in a couple weeks and would like to help.

  25. Bonnie Jeffe

    I planned to spend the last two weeks of Sept. in the Cranberry Lake area. Is this area open? Concerned about whether it is ok to visit there (camping in a van) after hurricane Irene. I haven’t yet been able to get any information about park closings except that wilderness areas are closed. I have no idea of just what that means.

  26. teleskiqueen

    Check the DEC High Peaks Trail Information web page
    for a complete list of closed trails and the conditions for open trails. It will be updated as trails are reopened.

  27. Marie

    Come on into town everyone! We’ve got 22 new slides!!! Trails opened!!! Roads opened! Businesses opened! New landscape!! Be the first amongst your friends to visit the new terrain Irene carved out for us. Autumn promises some spectacular color this year.


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