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Flooding causes state of emergency in Lewis County, Carthage and Wilna


Carthage village President G. Wayne McIlroy and town of Wilna Supervisor Paul H. Smith have declared a state of emergency for the municipalities because of flooding.

And in Lewis County, numerous roads are still closed and some closed bridges will remain that way until they can be inspected.

Following an emergency management meeting that included representatives from the two municipalities’ fire departments, Jefferson County Fire and Emergency Management and West Carthage Fire Department, Mr. McIlroy said the state of emergency likely would stay in effect until Saturday.

“We’re concerned about gas and electric with people staying in their homes,” he said. “People are going down by the river — we’re afraid they will be dragged in.”

In Carthage, West End Avenue as well as Route 3 into Herrings have been closed, but Mr. McIlroy said people are driving around the barricades. He said there is moving water along portions of that route.

South Mechanic Street also has been closed because of flooding. Mr. McIlroy said the village has stopped pumping out basements since there’s nowhere to put the water.

“The fire department is helping notify people that we are there to help,” he said. “The state has offered all kinds of help. They’re sending a sandbagger; that will be a big help.”

The sandbag-filling equipment will cut down on physical labor for the already-taxed first responders, he said. Mr. McIlroy said anyone in need of sandbags should notify the village fire department.

Mr. McIlroy said that as of Wednesday afternoon, there had been no evacuation or injuries because of the flooding.

However, on the other side of the Black River, people were evacuated by boat from Zecher Road in the town of Denmark. The dead end road is accessed from South Main Street, West Carthage.

West Carthage Fire Chief Peter Crump Jr. said a woman in a wheelchair, three other adults, a child and several pets were evacuated by boat from their homes from Tuesday evening to Wednesday afternoon.

“Last night we went around to help people get out,” he said, noting only one person accepted the offer. Then, Wednesday morning, a call came from the Herbert Widrick home requesting evacuation due to water surrounding the home. With help from the city of Watertown and Croghan fire departments, the couple was brought to safety. Chief Crump said some of the firefighters, including him, donned insulated “Gumby” suits and took to the water to assist in the rescue and check on residents.

The chief said there were still about eight residents “on a dry knoll” amid flooded areas who chose to stay.

Both Mr. Crump and Mr. McIlroy said flooding in these areas was a normal spring event, and they had seen worse during the ice storm of 1998.

Lewis County Emergency Manager James M. Martin reported Castorland as the remaining area of flooding concern, as the Black River had not yet crested there.

In addition to several residents who remained in their homes on Ridge Road, five farms were being monitored. Access to clean feed could be an issue for the animals. Mr. Martin said well water also could be contaminated.

Four bridges were closed in Lewis County, which will require inspection by the state Department of Transportation before they are reopened. “That could take a few days,” Mr. Martin said, as the visual inspection cannot take place until the water has receded.

Overnight, the Beaver River in Croghan had crested and already was beginning to come down.

In Lyons Falls, the waters were beginning to recede along the Moose and Black rivers, after cresting at 7 a.m. Wednesday.

The Black River in the Lowville area was expected to peak by noon.

As of 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, the following roads or bridges were closed:

n Ridge Road, Lowville.

n Burdicks Crossing Road from RVI to Greig Road, Greig.

n River Road, Lowville.

n Denning Road, Lowville.

n Moose River Road, Port Leyden, open on Lewis County end only.

n East Martinsburg Road, Bealuck Road to Number Four Road, Martinsburg.

n Henry Road, Diana.

n Blue Street, Glenfield.

n Zecher Road, Denmark.

n Merz Road, Castorland.

n Murphy Road, Port Leyden.

n Shibley Bridge only over Moose River, Lyons Falls.

n Steam Mill Bridge, Harrisville.

n VanAmber Road Bridge over Beaver River , Castorland.

n Number Four Road, Lowville, from Markowski Road to Beach’s Bridge.

n Route 126 from Swiss Road to Naumberg.

The following roads were opened with caution:

n Southbound lane of Route 812, Dadville — cones present.

n South Bonaparte Road, Harrisville — 10 inches of water, but passable.

Jefferson County Sheriff John P. Burns warns those near the Black River to use “extreme caution” because of flooding, especially when parking on the side of the road along the river.
The department has received complaints about pedestrians and drivers parking along the river in the Glen Park area.
The Black River is at 13.37 feet in Watertown, well above the flood stage of 10 feet, according to the National Weather Service.
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