Extreme Weather in CNY: Flooding

People who have lived in Sherburne all their lives couldn't believe what they were seeing when the water went over the banks. Sylvia White says, "We just saw a fish actually in the street, swimming down. So it's high enough that there are fishes coming."

On June 28th Silvia White couldn't get to work due to the severe flash flood covering Main Street. She had vivid memories of the worst flood to ever hit Sherburne.

That was less than two years before; September 8th, 2011 when the Chenango River crested at an all time level above flood stage.

We toured the flooding this past summer with village mayor Bill Acee. He had issued voluntary evacuations of residences and is concerned about this becoming a more common occurrence. Bill Acee says, "I would rate this as one of the worst, and it was different; We saw a lot of stream flooding. Because the rain came so fast it was fast waters, which created a dangerous situation."

When it rains, when it pours, the water in the Sherburne valley has nowhere to go with big hills surrounding it in all directions.

Heavy rain over a short period of time has the potential to hit other parts of Central New York equally as hard. But what makes this area so vulnerable to extreme weather is the topography. This high resolution computer fly through shows the river meandering between the towering hillsides.

A daily record of 4.30" of rain fell in Sherburne on June 28th sending the Chenango and it's tributaries over their banks.

To rub salt in the wound, mother nature dumped another daily record of 3.04" just days later on July 2nd. This made a huge impact on local businesses, forcing some to take swift action.

Spencer Mccredy says, "We opened in 1965, so this was the worst year. It was the only time it ever got in the building."

Mccredy Motors watched the fast rising water breach the banks of Handsome Brook located nearby the dealership. It's hard to imagine such a quiet waterway causing so much damage.

Spencer Mccredy says, "We had to move all of our cars out of here for a weekâ?¦took them over across the street in the cemetery. We had about a foot of water here, about six inches thru the building and it was the first time it's been that bad. It's never got in the building before."

Mad Brook runs down to the Chenango River and over the summer it was angry. Of course, this autumn it is running a lot lower. The village of Sherburne is looking at ways to mitigate future flooding.

Over the years residents have seen the waterways repeatedly flood. It's only a matter of time before luck runs out and it happens again. Mayor Acee tells me that some of the flooding could be alleviated by rebuilding the berm on the brooks. The village made formal requests for federal funding to keep Sherburne ahead of the storm.