Chautauqua County officials trying to get federal aid

CHAUTAUQUA COUNTY, N.Y. (WIVB)- People living in the Southern Tier are picking up the pieces after devastating floods on Tuesday.

Officials expect the floods did hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage to both private and public property.

“It came up so fast my two children and I couldn’t get out,” said Chelsey Tomsick, who lives in Silver Creek.

She told News 4 Sunset Bay Volunteer Fire Department rescued her family after water levels rose more than four feet in 10 minutes.

Her home was one of about 250 flooded in Chautauqua County.

“We have just done two hours touring the area that has been affected, primarily Westfield, Portland, Brocton, Silver Creek as well and part of Fredonia,” said County Executive Vincent Horrigan.

Horrigan said they don’t have final numbers yet for how much damage the flooding caused but they expect it to amount to more than $300,000.

“It’s devastating,” said Justin McGowan, whose brother’s home was damaged. “We put a lot of hours into this and to see it happen again to my parents is bad.”

McGowan told News 4 it took about $43,000 to repair the home after the 2009 flood. Now they hope to get FEMA money to help offset the $15,000 they expect it to cost to repair this time.

“Just doing the best we can, hopefully get some help this time,” said McGowan.

Neighbor Brian Hanner said aid will be important because many people can’t rely on homeowners insurance to fix the damage.

“When I signed up for the insurance, they said it does cover some flood damage,” said Hanner. He told News 4 his insurance now won’t pay for it.

There are thresholds that have to be met for the county to get federal aid. Officials have to prove to the state $386,000 of damage was done throughout the county. The state then has to prove to the federal government there was $20 million worth of damage done by the flooding statewide.

“It is very important that people document all of the damage they have, take pictures of the damage they have,” said Horrigan. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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