Gowanda Residents Preparing For Another Round Of Rain

GOWANDA – With local officials still cleaning up after the recent flash flood that hit Gowanda area hard, the last thing anyone wants is another flood.

A state of emergency for the area will be in effect until Saturday when the storm should pass and weather will turn sunny again.

Recently retired firefighter Kathy Camp is keeping her spirits up.

“We are preparing for the worst, but praying for the best,” she said.

“We have become pros at dealing with floods. The biggest thing is sandbags; we have been filling sandbags since 8 a.m.,” she said Thursday.

The entire Gowanda community has come together to help keep more damage from hitting home.

“We have volunteers and prisoners from the correctional facility who have helped put sandbags together,” Camp said. “It is sad, but this has brought the community together.”

Preparing for the worst, the Gowanda Fire Department spent Thursday cleaning up the previous mess.

“We have had people picking up or delivering sandbags all day (Thursday). We have been cleaning up as many trees as we can on the roads. We told people to not put out any trash for a few days, and people have been on standby at the hall until they are released,” Camp said. “The Salvation Army has been here serving all the volunteers dinner and will help out again (today) if we need it.”

Steve Raiport, Gowanda incident commander, confirmed most of the debris have been removed from the village limits.

“We still have a lot of debris upstream and if we get heavy rains, that will be a major concern for us. Our focus is if we get another flash flood. If the rain continues like it has been we will be fine.”

Raiport added storm drains and creeks are open and should allow the water to flow and keep it from flooding again.

Salvation Army and American Red Cross distributed cleanup kits to victims, and according to Raiport, approximately 150 homes have been affected by the recent flood.

“This is the second time we have been through this in five years,” he said. “We don’t usually get this heavy torrential downpour over a short period of time.”

Residents are encouraged to monitor local weather stations for updated forecasts and continue to be prepared for prolonged periods of steady rain and possible strong wind. Travel during storms should be limited to necessities only. Remember if you must travel, drive safely and do not drive or walk through pooling or running water.

The Cattaraugus County Emergency Operations Center is open and actively monitoring the weather and emergency response needs. Cattaraugus County residents can call a non-emergency line at 938-2244 to report damages from the flooding or the storm, including damage from Monday night to Tuesday morning’s storm. All those with emergencies or requests for assistance should call 911.

Contact the Cattaraugus County Office of Emergency Services with questions by calling the non-emergency line at 938-2244.