Preserving the image: The Flood of 2006
Photographer Ed Aswad, hovering over the Tri-cities area in a helicopter, could only watch and take pictures as below him the floodwaters swelled the valley. On June 23, 2006, the ground was dry in the Southern Tier when a weak cold front entered the area and stalled. Flash floods quickly drowned low-lying areas, followed by heavy rains that dumped between eight and fifteen inches in just two days. The Susquehanna and Chenango rivers, which join in downtown Binghamton, crested at nearly thirty-three feet, some three feet higher than the previous record. The town of Conklin was the worst hit, with hundreds of homes damaged or destroyed. Dozens of residents had to be rescued in the middle of the night by National Guard helicopter. After the floodwaters receded, the dismal task of assessing the damage began. In all, 135 FEMA trailers were shipped into the area to house the displaced. The flood caused $227 million dollars in damage; FEMA received over 15 million applications for assistance in New York and Pennsylvania.