Nunda historian compiling memories of devastating 2003 flood
Town of Nunda Historian Valerie Griffing is organizing an event to gather community members’ recollections of the devastating flooding the hit the town on Aug. 9, 2003, and caused millions in damages.
The public is encouraged to bring pictures and other visual documentation of the flood to share at the June 30 event, scheduled for 2 p.m. at the Nunda Historical Society, Portage Street.
“A formal program is not planned but rather an opportunity to recall the storm events of that day and personal reactions to it,” Griffing said.
On Aug. 9, 2003 — a Saturday afternoon — a sudden and severe rain event delivered 3 to 5 inches of rain in a short time to already saturated ground.
In the town and village of Nunda and in surrounding towns, many miles of roads and road shoulders were damaged along with bridges, culverts and personal property. Property on either side of Keshequa Creek was particularly hard hit. Eight counties would eventually be declared disaster areas.
Plans are to copy as many of the pictures as possible to document the damage and how Nunda pulled together to rebuild. All pictures will be returned to the donor that day.
Those unable to attend may make other arrangements for sharing information by contacting Griffing via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and by calling (585) 335-9607.
Roads in the town of Nunda, along with state and county roads suffered extensive damage. Many roads were impassable and several were lost in the storm. The total cost to rebuilding the road system was $3.3 million.
“It took several weeks and in some cases months to restore all roads to service,” recalled … in a letter to The Livingston County News. “Today all those roads are back to pre-flood conditions or better.”
Keshequa Central School also suffered damage to the school gym and tennis courts.
Two homes on Cooperville Road were destroyed by the flooding. A month after the storm, a foot of mud remained in what had been the home on Ronald and Marlene Huff, according to a Livingston County News story at the time.
Mark Galton and Stephanie Galton, relatives of the Huffs, also lost their home. Mark Galton recalled events in a September 2003 story in the LCN: “We could see the water coming. There was not much time to get anything out. We saved the pictures, that’s pretty much about it.”
Some belongings that were higher than the windows were able to be salvaged. Many of their belongings were destroyed, the story said.
Shortly after the storm President George W. Bush declared the region a disaster area. Disaster relief for the county was expected to be at $12 million.