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Erie County prepares for thaw, potential flooding

by jmaloni

Press release

Sat, Nov 22nd 2014 07:00 pm

County Executive Poloncarz visits snow cleanup sites around county, discusses flooding preparations for potential flooding

Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz was joined Saturday by numerous elected officials in visits to snow-affected areas around Erie County, checking on the status of widespread cleanup efforts and discussing county preparations for potential flooding. Throughout the day, Poloncarz was joined by Sen. Charles Schumer, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, State Sen. Tim Kennedy, Erie County Legislator Patrick Burke, and representatives of both the Erie and Niagara county sheriff's departments to talk to New York National Guard's members clearing snow and assisting residents in storm recovery.

In visits to South Buffalo, Orchard Park and Alden, the county executive spoke to residents about their experiences with the storm and provided details on county preparations to address potential flooding issues as the snows recede.

"While the snow has stopped, and we have made great progress on snow removal efforts, we are not out of the woods yet, as the potential for flooding is great," Poloncarz said. "As crews from Erie County and New York state continue to dig out affected communities with assistance from National Guard units deployed here, we are keeping an eye on area creeks, streams and low-lying areas for flooding. Planning at the Erie County emergency operations center has expanded and includes dozens of county and state agencies focused on the flood threat. With the support of New York state, Erie County is ready to quickly deploy assets, personnel and resources to communities threatened by rising waters."

A flood watch is in effect from Sunday afternoon through Wednesday morning for the counties of Erie, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Genesee and Wyoming. Erie County's Division of Sewerage Management has 25 large pumps at three staging areas ready for deployment, and rented an additional eight pumps ready if needed. New York has committed hundreds of assets to operate in support of Erie County efforts, including 51 boats, 375 heavy-duty pumps, 29 high-axle vehicles, more than 500 National Guard personnel, 30 light towers, more than 176,000 sandbags and three sandbaggers, and 69,000 water bottles along with 5,300 meals-ready-to-eat. Thirteen thousand more MREs are being prepared for deployment in case they are needed.

Poloncarz added, "Large amounts of snowmelt will produce considerable quantities of water, which may build quickly before receding. Thanks to the assistance of Gov. Cuomo, significant resources and personnel are on standby to assist Erie County in combating any potential effects of rising water. As the flood watch continues, we will remain vigilant and responsive to what our communities need."

Snow removal efforts are also continuing across the affected areas, with driving bans still in place in the City of Buffalo (south of Seneca Street), the City of Lackawanna and the Town of Eden. Travel advisories are in place in the towns of Elma, Hamburg, West Seneca, Evans, Alden and Orchard Park, as well as the villages of Blasdell, Depew, Angola and Orchard Park. In addition, states of emergency are still in effect the City of Buffalo; the towns of West Seneca, Eden, Elma, Alden, Evans, North Collins, Marilla and Orchard Park; and the villages of Blasdell, North Collins, Orchard Park and Depew.

A list of driving bans still in effect is updated regularly at www.erie.gov.

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