GOWANDA, N.Y. (WIVB) – With the Village of Gowanda still recovering from one flood this week, officials kept a watchful eye on creeks and streams. It rained steadily from Thursday night into Friday morning.
Gowanda’s Disaster Coordinator Nick Crassi says crews were out for hours monitoring conditions. He says they were ready for anything, but he was grateful the water levels receded.
“It looks like all the water levels have receded over the night instead of come up. We’ve had some hard rains but it doesn’t look like a problem right now,” said Crassi.
On Tuesday, neighbors in Gowanda weren’t as lucky. The heavy rain caused major flooding. Many streets looked like rivers, carrying lots of mud and debris. John Worthylake is one of the many people whose home was flooded.
“It was just the most amazing sight. As bad as it was there were logs maybe 20 feet long rushing down the street all kinds of debris,” said Worthylake.
Gowanda got two to three inches of rain that day. Heavy rain upstream on Cattaraugus Creek and debris caused Thatcher Brook to damm. Point Peter Brook also overflowed causing water to flow over a dike and into the village’s reservoir. Now residents are using wells as a backup water source. The damage is estimated to cost the village half a million dollars. On Thursday crews from the State Department of Transportation helped the village redirect water so additional sludge and debris doesn’t flow into the reservoir.
Chief Water Plant operator George Dubaj said, “Yesterday the water was all flowing to the right of here and all the pressure was against the dike there, where our breech is. They came in, dug a new channel got the water all flowing to the left so it would keep the pressure off the dike.”
Crews have to remove the debris from the reservoir, drain it, clean it then refill it with water. Officials say that could take weeks, maybe months.
For now the residents of Gowanda are pulling together to help each other clean up the remainder of the damage left from Tuesday’s storm.
Gowanda Police Department’s Steve Raiport said, “Neighbors, friends, everybody’s pitching in helping each other like they did last time. Gowanda’s one of those special place where everyone knows each other.”
The Village of Gowanda is still under a state of emergency. Officials say it will stay in effect until Monday while crews finish cleaning up the debris from Tuesday’s storm .
Red Cross volunteers will be out here in Gowanda Friday, handing out free clean up kids. Neighbors will be able to pick up mops, buckets and bleach at the Gowanda Fire Hall on East Main Street from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.