Columbia County Homes Destroyed Down from Over 1,000 to 141

There is no doubt that Columbia County suffered some of the worst damage in the Northeast from the 1-2 sucker punch that was Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. Nonetheless, current statistics are much less severe than previously thought. Rita Inklovitch, executive director of the Bloomsburg Chapter of the Red Cross, provided the following revised statistics for Columbia County as of Oct. 2, 2011. The numbers are dramatically different from the damage that was initially suspected, with an initial estimate of over 1,000 homes destroyed in the County, and another 2,300 homes damaged reported by the Press Enterprise (9-16-11). The numbers currently stand at:

  • 141 homes were destroyed
  • 661 homes sustained major damage
  • 465 homes sustained minor damage
  • 621 homes were affected in some way (less severely than “minor damage”)
  • 1,888 homes in total were affected by the flood

Rita explained that the numbers have now been revised as caseworkers from the Red Cross are visiting each of these homes. “Many of the homes were condemned by the local Townships and have been found to be repairable. Even with water on the first floor, most are repairable.” She also noted that the Red Cross Damage assessment teams have completed their work at this time, and these current numbers are much more accurate.

Lycoming County has apparently suffered similar losses to Columbia County. An article by Amanda Alexander of the Williamsport SunGazette (9-20-11) cited the following statistics provided by Phil Petter of the Northcentral PA Red Cross. 340 homes were deemed uninhabitable, with 190 of them destroyed and another 150 sustaining major damage; and a total of over 1,200 homes in that region affected in some way.

Thus far, New York state appears to have even larger numbers of properties sustaining either major or minor damage, but fewer numbers of properties falling within the “destroyed” category. Steve Reilly reported in an article for on 9-29-11 that over 7,000 buildings were damaged in the greater Binghamton area, which is seated in Broome County, and an additional 47 were destroyed.

In another article by Reilly on 9-23-11, the overall damage from Tropical Storm Lee was estimated at $250 million in the southern portion of the NY state, according to Mike Morosi, spokesman for US Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-Hurley. Both Broome County and Tioga County are seated in this corridor and both have sustained major damages. “In Tioga County, damage to private property is greater than $100 million, according to Assemblyman Gary Finch, R-Union Sp.”

Another staff writer for, Nancy Dooling, is currently reporting that over 5000 people in the Binghamton region are still displaced by the flood.

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5 thoughts on “Columbia County Homes Destroyed Down from Over 1,000 to 141

  1. I suspect there is confusion about the terminology of condemned and destroyed and damaged. Initially I believed that if there was more than 5 feet of water on the first floor, it would be condemned or at least pronounced unfit to live in until major repairs were completed. I also thought that 3 feet of water on the first floor would mean destroyed but fixable, and water in the basement of several feet was damaged. Maybe you could republish the definitions of these categories.

  2. I know of other homes that sustained minor to heavier damage that were not even reported. Many had ground water in the basement causing damage during that flood time. I was one of them. It is that a few thousand dollars of damage seems like a drop in the bucket compared to what many others have had. I never considered that I should report it. Am I wrong?

  3. Cynthia, do you mean to say that the Red Cross came to your house in their door-to-door sweep and asked and you told them you had no damage to report? Or do you mean that no one asked so you didn’t contact them to correct their numbers?

    Either way, I personally feel that you should report all damage to the Red Cross. This isn’t about saying you had it worse than anyone else, it’s about giving the folks who plan for these type of disasters all the information they need to be ready for next time. Information is power.

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