Pulaski under state of emergency

The Village of Pulaski is under a state of emergency as water from the Salmon River reaches dangerous levels.

Oswego County Highway Superintendent Kurt Ospelt announced in a news release Friday afternoon that the County Route 52 bridge in Altmar is closed due to flooding of the Salmon River. County Route 52 is closed from the bridge north to Tar Hill Road. The county expects the road to reopen by 7:00 Friday evening.

Several other county routes were affected earlier Friday but have remained open. State Route 104 and State Route 49 are also open. The Route 11 bridge over the Salmon River in the village of Pulaski remains closed at this time.

This is supposed to be a very big weekend for fishing in Pulaski. In fact, people from as far away as Texas are in Oswego County to cast their lines, but fishing is off limits because of the high water levels.

It's impacting businesses big time, as they rely on this time of year to make money.

"We're in one of the biggest weekends of the season and a lot of these shops aren't gonna make any money this year," said Tony Gulisano of the Yankee Fly and Tackle Shop. "We've already been feeling the effects of the economy from the get go, but now we're really going to be feeling the effects of this."

The village is also reporting that part of a retaining wall on the banks of the Salmon River has collapsed and village officials are concerned the rest of the wall could collapse in the river. Village officials say they've been trying to get money for years to repair the wall. There is also concern that it could damage a sewage pumping station.

Oswego County 911 tells CNY Central that they are warning fishermen to stay out of the Salmon River. The storm has caused river levels to rise, and expected releases of large amounts of water from a reservoir dam will make the river treacherous.

CNY Central meteorologist Peter Hall adds that the Salmon River was an area of concern even before the rain began. On top of the normal rainfall and runoff, the dam floodgate had to release excess water. According to the National Weather Service, at 9:24 a.m. the dam operators on the Salmon River reported that the water being released from the Lighthouse Hill Reservoir had to be reduced to 8,000 cubic feet per second. While the amount of water was lower, the water level on the Salmon River remains very high from Bennett's Bridge downstream through Altmar and Pulaski and all the way down to Lake Ontario. Numerous roads along the Salmon River have been flooded and washed out due to the earlier heavier water release. Salmon and steelhead fishermen should remain well clear of the river today as fast moving water can sweep you downstream. In addition, numerous snags may be in the river. Further river flooding is expected in this area through the afternoon.

Oswego County Legislature Chairman Barry Leemann issued a statement Friday afternoon, saying the county is urging fishermen to stay out of the water until the flooding recedes. Here is the full text of that statement:

The Oswego County community is saddened by the recent tragic event on the Oswego River. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Mr. Nichols, the angler who drowned on Tuesday, and we pray for a full recovery for Mr. Luther, who remains hospitalized. As a community we hope never to repeat that experience.

Oswego County is renowned for its sportfishing opportunities and we welcome anglers year-round from around the world. Given the recent weather conditions, our rivers have become extremely dangerous. There has been no official ban on fishing, however, all parties involved with the operation and maintenance of our fishery are advising that anglers stay out of the Oswego and Salmon Rivers until water levels return to more normal conditions.

We urge anglers to consider other fishing techniques other than standing directly in the water, such as fishing from streams, piers or driftboat, until the high water levels subside.

At this time of year our communities are full of anglers eager to try their luck as they search for a record catch in our various rivers and streams. This type of fishing comes with its own unique set of challenges and safety must always be our first consideration. This is a temporary situation we are experiencing. Please use common sense and be safe.

Additionally, the county says about a dozen roads are closed because of flooded sections.