SALAMANCA — A heavy downpour Thursday morning in Salamanca led to flash flooding and the closure of several city streets, but no injuries or rescues were reported.
The Allegheny River at the Main Street bridge crested at 6.52 feet Thursday at 2 p.m., up nearly two feet from Wednesday night. Much of the overwhelming water was seen running through residents’ yards and down the roads toward the river.
A hazardous outlook warning was issued for Western New York at 5:15 a.m. Thursday by the National Weather Service. Even though storms had passed through quickly, a flood warning remained in effect until 1:30 p.m.
Several Salamanca streets had to be temporarily closed Thursday, including Wildwood, Prospect, State Park, West and Sycamore avenues and Elm, Eagle, Academy and Adams streets.
Salamanca Department of Public Works (DPW) Superintendent Rob Carpenter said crews were at several of these streets clearing sewer drains and removing water.
“Those are our major flood spots, but the water is starting to go down,” he said. “We’re all over the city and checking everything.”
Salamanca Fire Chief Nick Bocharski said the fire department had received about a dozen water-related calls Thursday afternoon, but other than flooded basements there were no major incidents.
“We’re up to four or five basements, but it will probably increase when everybody gets home from work and notices their basement is flooded,” he said.
Carpenter said his crews were out early Thursday morning preparing for the storm.
“We were on top of it,” he said. “I tried to keep the drains clear with my crews this morning, and then all of a sudden it hit. We responded where we were needed.”
Because the amount of rainfall was so great in such a short time, many of the sewer pipes were unable to handle it. Carpenter explained it as the pipe in a kitchen sink trying to drain water coming from a fire hose.
“Your drain just wouldn’t be able to keep up with it,” he said. “These pipes can only handle so much water at one time.”
Bocharski said the fire department responded to a couple incidents of vehicles trapped in a flooded area on Academy Street up a hill about 1,300 feet from the Allegheny River.
“We were laughing on the way to Academy wondering how can there be a water rescue up on a hill,” Bocharski added.
Carpenter said some of the worst flooding came in the southern end of the city where the Titus Run Creek comes down State Park Avenue. The state’s nearby retention pond also overflowed, flooding the street near the Interstate 86 overpass.
“We came up here to remove a tree from the retention pond pipe,” he said. “Then of course it floods over onto Frank Street and the Credit Union (on Broad Street) is flooded out.
“We’re working everywhere to try to make the water go down,” Carpenter added. “It’s a major water event.”
Bocharski said several firefighters were still out in the field Thursday afternoon and they would continue responding to calls into the evening, but no one had been hurt and there hadn’t been any rescues needed yet.
“Just a lot of kids having fun in the puddles,” he added.
(Contact managing editor Kellen Quigley at email@example.com)