Crews rebuild sandbag walls in Olcott after demolished by high waves

OLCOTT, N.Y. (WIVB) — Severe weather and heavy wave action caused several sandbag walls to collapse along the Lake Ontario shoreline in Olcott Thursday.

Eight fire departments across Niagara County stepped up to rebuild the walls Thursday evening before conditions worsen.

Emergency officials told News 4 the sandbag walls are just a temporary defense to fight the rising waters. The walls decrease the amount of water coming into the harbor, but Thursday the walls couldn’t stand up against the weather.

Several roads on the lower end of Olcott were temporarily closed as crews repaired the sandbag walls.

Crews also pumped water out in some areas, including pumping water out of resident’s basements.

“Unfortunately by building these berms so high and being lower than the actual lake level, the water comes in and has no where to go and now we have to set the pumps up with pumps operating 24/7. Now we have more pumps operating now to get that water out and back into the harbor and lakes to get semi dry here in some areas,” said Jonathan Schultz, Niagara County Director of Emergency Services.

Schultz says they are very fortunate that the county hasn’t had to evacuate homeowners thus far.

A flood warning remains in effect until 2 am Friday.

The state of emergency for Olcott and neighboring towns remains in effect until June 20.

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