Heavy rains soak Central New York, flood Chenango County

Tioughnioga River late Wednesday afternoon / photo: Mike Brookins

Heavy rain has fallen all day across much of New York State, and some of the hardest-hit areas are in Chenango County southeast of Syracuse.

The National Weather Service reports that a flash flood warning is in effect for Cayuga, Madison, Oneida, and Onondaga counties until 10:30 p.m. NWS radar says it expects excessive rainfall over the this area. Heavy rain will fall late through the evening, and totals of two to five inches could be enough to cause rapid flooding of streams, creeks, urban streets, and poor drainage areas.

Two to five inches of rain have already fallen in Chenango County, and a flash flood warning is also in effect. The county is declaring a state of emergency as of 7:00pm Wednesday night. It will be in place until at least 7:00am on Thursday. The NWS says heavy rain is expected in the county for the next six to eight hours, possibly overflowing already swollen rivers and streams. Some areas of the county could see up to ten inches of rain before the storm is over.

Chenango County also says that the Town of Greene and Town of Coventry are under a state of emergency. All roads and streets are closed until further notice.

In Onondaga County, CNY Central news crews report local streams are rising, but do not yet appear to be threats to flood. Onondaga Creek, Ley Creek, and Butternut Creek are full, but not cresting the banks.

In Cortland County, the Fire and Emergency Management Office says the Tioughnioga River could rise to between 11-12 feet, which is three to four feet above the flood stage of eight feet. They say that from past experience this could cause some serious flooding problems, and ask that local residents monitor radio and TV stations and check their website to keep tabs on the river levels. They say that residents should be prepared to evacuate if they live in low-lying areas near the Otselic or Tioughnioga Rivers.

In Owego, Apalachin Central School District officials had opted against early dismissal Wednesday despite heavy rains because of the perilous road conditions. Superintendent Bill Russell says road conditions were safe enough to transport all but a handful of the district's 2,300 students at the usual time. Parents were called to pick up the remaining children.

The NWS is also reporting flooding and roadway damage in Tioga County, west of Binghamton. One report states that roadway flooding has taken place near Gibson Corners, with about one foot of water running over the roadway. Several other roadways in the area are flooded.

Heavy rain from the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee moved through the region Wednesday, soaking an area still recovering from Tropical Storm Irene.

Click here for a list of road closures in Central New York.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.