Police searching a flood-ravaged corner of the Catskills found a woman's body Friday, the second victim recovered since the deluge earlier in the week. Two people were still missing.
The body of the unidentified woman was found around noon by state police scuba divers in a pond in the rural Delaware County town of Colchester, said Trooper Nelson Torres. Authorities were still trying to identify her Friday evening, he said.
The body of 81-year-old Fred Shutts was found Wednesday amid debris downstream from his home, which was ripped from its foundation during a storm Friday that sent a wall of water raging through this area 100 miles northwest of New York City.
The force of the water was so powerful it snapped trees and power poles and sent entire cars floating downstream through the rural hamlets along the winding Route 206.
More than 30 families were evacuated.
Scores of searchers have been picking through the mounds of muddy rubble left in the flash flood's wake since Wednesday. Cadaver dogs have been aiding in the search for two more missing people. Torres said searchers were concentrating on the piles of debris left behind. The search was expected to continue Saturday.
After evaluating roads and bridges, county officials said early damage estimates are in the millions.
"It struck with much more severity than anyone could imagine," said Len Govern, a Delaware County emergency official.
'Waves pouring down road'
Survivors described a "wall of water" smashing through the rural hamlets along the winding Route 206. Authorities said the rushing water scattered mobile homes and smashed up cars so severely that searchers had trouble determining makes and models. Susan Farrell, who lives along Spring Brook in Colchester, watched a truck trailer wash down the road and topple a telephone pole.
"The whole road was like a beach. The whole road was like waves pouring down the road," she said. "Every telephone pole on 206 was down. The wires were all over the road.
"Then I saw cars start coming down, washing down. Cars were crashing into everything. Then I started seeing houses come down the road."
More than 30 families were evacuated. Many of them were put up in a shelter at a local school, but most had found temporary shelter with friends and relatives by Thursday, authorities said.
"Their world has been wiped out," said Robert Imbornoni, a Red Cross official at the shelter. "Many are grateful they were able to get through this."
State officials will lobby for federal assistance, even though damage in such a small, focused area is not usually considered eligible.
It could be more than a week before Route 206 reopens.