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Possible ice jam flooding on Cattaraugus Creek minimal after thaw

Photo by Rick Miller An angler fishes for steelhead trout in Cattaraugus Creek last Sunday while standing on the ice-covered bank. After sub-zero temperatures last week, warmer weather earlier in the week began melting the ice, calling for a flood watch.

Photo by Rick Miller
An angler fishes for steelhead trout in Cattaraugus Creek last Sunday while standing on the ice-covered bank. After sub-zero temperatures last week, warmer weather earlier in the week began melting the ice, calling for a flood watch.

By Rick Miller

Much of Western New York remained under a flood watch until early Thursday as expected rain will mixed with melting snow and ice as the week progressed and temperatures dropped.

One of the biggest fears for local emergency officials in a flood watch is always the water in the Cattaraugus Creek exceeding the banks.

Chris Baker, director of Cattaraugus County Emergency Services, said earlier this week that emergency personnel are monitoring area creeks during the flood watch.

“I just spoke to fire officials in Gowanda and they said everything is looking OK on Cattaraugus Creek,” Baker said. “We’re in contact with the state Department of Environmental Conservation. We do not have any (flooding) issues at this time.”

Emergency Services is also in contact with the National Weather Service, Baker said.

“Nothing stands out,” he said. “The ice is nothing of significance. I think we’re good at this point.”

Baker said a cool night Monday and less rain than originally forecast over the past few days would probably mitigate the flood threat.

Showers overnight Monday were forecast to be around a quarter of an inch with a low temperature around 41 in Springville. Tuesday was cloudy in the morning and sunny in the afternoon with a high of 43 and a low of 24.

Rain was forecast for Springville on Wednesday with a high of 44 and a low of 38, while Thursday should have seen a high of 55 and a low of 30. Little to no rain or snow was forecast for Friday, with a high of 35 and a low of 15.

National Weather Service meteorologist Jim Mitchell said that with cooler temperatures and only around a quarter-inch of rain overnight, the threat of flooding from ice jams will lessen.

“It will be below freezing by midday,” Mitchell said. “The low temperatures will stop everything.”

Cattaraugus Creek was on track to rise above 6 feet earlier in the week but expected to begin falling late Wednesday. The action level in Cattaraugus Creek is 8 feet.

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