VILLAGE OF GOWANDA, N.Y. (WIVB) – Streets in the Village of Gowanda turned into rivers Tuesday morning, as water and mud filled backyards and basements, forcing the village to issue a state of emergency as crews worked to clear up the mess the flooding left behind.
Officials used the Code Red system at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday to notify residents to take precautions due to the anticipated rain. Residents who have signed up for the alerts receive calls, text messages or e-mails from the village. By 8:45 a.m., the creeks had overflowed.
Dams formed as tree trunks, branches and debris gathered in the creeks, like the one in Thatcher Brook, which caused water to stop flowing. Crews worked quickly to remove the blockages, but 200 families were impacted by the water, mud and muck and more than 30 homes were flooded.
Officials in Gowanda notified fire and police personnel, schools and emergency services in Cattaraugus and Erie counties. Officials say everyone responded immediately and students were able to make it to school safely.
One 80-year-old woman was hospitalized after a tree fell and hit her as she cleaned up her yard, but her injuries are not life threatening.
The village remains under a state of emergency until crews finish clearing all of the side streets and residents are being asked to conserve water. Rt. 39, which was closed for most of the day, has re-opened.
News 4′s 4 Warn Weather team is reminding residents not to drive through flooded roadways. Meteorologist Bryan Shaw says it is impossible to tell how deep flooding is on roadways because the road could be washed away. He warns that six inches of water is enough to sweep a person away, and a foot of water is enough to sweep away a vehicle.