SILVER CREEK, N.Y. (WIVB) – Residents in Silver Creek received notifications via the reverse 9-1-1 system and the state alert system Thursday morning after ice jams on area creeks created flooding issues.
Jeff Griewisch, Disaster Coordinator for the Village of Silver Creek, told News 4 it felt like a March thaw in January. He says within only ten minutes Thursday morning, he saw the ice on Walnut Creek go from totally flat to broken and troublesome.
The large chunks of ice packed together on the creek and created a dam, so water flowed over and around it, over the banks of the creek.
Griewisch said he had not received any reports of damage other than word of some water and ice on people’s properties.
Central Avenue was closed for hours Thursday morning where Route 5 crosses over Walnut Creek, while emergency crews were activated to respond.
Everyone from members of the local fire crews to the state emergency management office to the sheriff’s office to the state department of transportation responded to the area, with a central command post in the village square.
DPW crews took an excavator to the end of Jackson Street later in the morning to punch holes in the ice near the lakefront to get the ice and water moving out from shore.
Wednesday, they had used an excavator to build a berm to try to direct the flow, but by 10 a.m., the ice had overtaken it, and crews were back at work to try to alleviate the situation.
The whole thing situation has been quite the sight for the new Silver Creek mayor, who is marking his eighth day on the job.
“This is a learning experience for me,” Mayor Jeff Hornburg said. “I appreciate everything that Jeff (Griewisch) and his crew do. I am learning a great deal just standing around and observing. And nothing but accolades for the men and women of silver creek that go through this on a yearly basis.”
In fact, Silver Creek residents say, compared to previous years’ flooding, this round wasn’t so bad.
“It hasn’t gone up onto the road like it did last year,” said one resident, John Schwartz. “A lot of local guys were using their four by four pickup trucks last year to help get people people out, but nothing like that yet. They’ll get it down.”
In South Buffalo, where flooding on Cazenovia Creek is also a risk, crews have cut triangles into the ice to try to keep the water down there. South Buffalo resident say they’re watching the creek closely now.
“It looks like it might just come up,” said South Buffalo resident Ellen Moore, “but for now, just keep an eye on it.”
A flood watch remains in effect for all of Western New York through 5 a.m. Saturday.
An areal flood warning is in effect for Chautauqua County through 8:15 p.m. Thursday.