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Sandy Creek residents urged to take precautions due to flooding

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SANDY CREEK — Flooding in the town along the shoreline of Lake Ontario has caused danger for residents, urged by officials to avoid traveling over flooded roadways.

Residents and property owners west of Route 3, where the heaviest flooding has occurred, are advised to secure propane and gas tanks and turn off electrical power if necessary. Those who believe they’re in life-threatening situations are advised to call 911 for immediate assistance.

Highway Superintendent Michael C. Kastler advised residents to not travel over flooded roadways, because a few inches of water could send vehicles off the road. On Wednesday, conditions improved significantly due to colder weather, which reduced rainfall and running water. Water levels at North Sandy Pond and South Sandy Pond have risen by up to 6 feet during the past week. But levels dropped by about 8 to 10 inches Tuesday night, because more water flowed out of the ponds into Lake Ontario.

“The imminent danger to a lot of houses has been greatly reduced due to the water receding overnight,” Mr. Kastler said. “The town is still in the mode of providing safety to residents, but at this time we’ve had no requests for help. We’ve surveyed all of the town roads and infrastructure, and everything is intact.”

The town has many seasonal residents who avoided the flooding altogether because they live in their shore-front homes only during the spring and summer, Mr. Kastler said. Yards and basements were flooded, he said, but no serious damage has occurred.

Whether the flooding situation will improve or worsen will largely depend on the weather, Mr. Kastler said. Above-freezing temperatures, which contribute to rain and water run-off from higher land in the Tug Hill region, could still cause more flooding of the town’s ponds.

“We typically get flooding here in the spring, but this is a bad time of the year for it because the ground is frozen and can’t absorb the water,” Mr. Kastler said. “The exceptional warm spell of weather with a combination of rain hurt us.”

Portions of Route 3 were closed Monday by the state Department of Transportation, and officials have reported driving conditions are still hazardous.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s declaration of a state of emergency for heavy lake-effect snow in the Tug Hill region last week is still in effect for Oswego County. County emergency management and town of Sandy Creek officials are working to secure state resources to alleviate the flooding situation in the town.

Flooding has already caused severe damage in the town in some places, including Up the Creek Campground off Route 3, where numerous recreational vehicles have been overturned. Video from the roadway and the campground may be seen at http://wdt.me/flood-ellisburg. The initial video of the flood damage can be seen at http://wdt.me/N4JcMt.

For updates on flooding conditions, visit the town’s website at www.sandycreekny.us.

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