With record high temperatures reaching the upper 50s Friday, rainfall, melting snow and ice jams meant more flooding for the village of Whitesboro.
“Around 6:15 this morning, we discovered the ice jam had occurred," said Whitesboro Fire Chief Pete Sobel. "It backed up all the way to Main Street on Whitesboro. The water was at the bridge level; normally when we see that, the water continues to rise and the village floods."
Officials estimate as many as 12 homes were impacted. An ice jam accumulated at the CSX bridge in Whitesboro, diverting the flow of water onto Sauquoit Street.
Residents began preparing for the worst, while emergency crews tried to mitigate the damage.
“We worked as a team with local, state and private contractors," said Whitesboro Mayor Patrick O'Connor. "As you can see, they’ve started to work on the issue and made substantial progress over the last 2 hours."
Local officials say this bridge always contributes to the areas flooding issues.
“It’s another stopping point for debris to get caught up on. It’s usually a difficult task to get CSX here in a quick manner to remove the debris before the flooding begins,” Sobel said.
“Hopefully the railroad will do the right thing. They’ll either fix or replace the bridge that is in absolute disrepair to begin with, so until any of that happens, again that’s just one part of it,” O'Connor said.
State leaders say they are in talks with CSX to come up with a solution.
“We need more water to get under the bridge; we need more water to get under those tracks. And we need faster response from CSX when these kinds of things happen,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos.
County and state leaders have been working on other flood mitigation projects to prevent future disasters. After the last flood in July, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced $2.5 million would be used to deepen and widen the Sauquoit Creek. Construction on that project is scheduled to start this year.