Living in a tiny town isolated by flooding: ‘You have to learn to think about survival’

The small Columbia County community of Ringoes, nearly 9,000 people, had been entirely cut off from the rest of the state for more than a week after floodwaters inundated nearby roads and bridges. Residents were left to fend for themselves, and local storekeepers said they were trying to keep their communities running as best they could.

On Sunday, a bridge that had been entirely submerged by water finally came back up at about 2:30 p.m., and drivers could now get to an alternate route to the town by car or by bicycle.

Couple residents met outside the newly-flooded stores carrying food staples.

“When you lose everything, you have to learn to think about survival,” Chris Upchamp said. “That’s been the biggest thing.”

Muriotti’s Deli and Market was reopening Wednesday after it had been completely under water for five days. “We got the power back on, and two days after that we got to open!” the owner said.

Now the roughly 100 residents are going to have to figure out how to get to the city of Rindge and Columbia, which is 23 miles away.

“I’ve still got the wedding dress, the wedding photos of me and my beautiful wife… in my car. And I’m sure that will end up in someone’s attic,” Upchamp said.

The Columbia County Emergency Management Agency is working with other agencies to get people to where they need to go.

“Pretty chaotic, but coming through it,” Upchamp said.

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