Another round of nature’s fury

Heavy downpour leads to flooding in Western, still cleaning up from tornado

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TOWN OF WESTERN — Barely a week and a half after an EF-1 tornado ripped through roads and homes in the Town of Western, another rainstorm has brought floods and more damage — as well as several evacuations from the rising water.

A bridge on Hillside Road has been washed out and several people were evacuated, according to fire officials.

“Mother Nature is in charge,” said Western Fire Chief Michael Anania Tuesday morning.

The rain storm picked up around 3 p.m. Monday and Anania said his volunteers were quickly fielding calls around the Webster Hill Road area. The initial calls were for trees and wires down along Route 46.

“All of a sudden it started raining, then it was raining a little harder, then some hail,” Anania stated. It seemed that the rain clouds “just sat there and parked” over Western, dropping three to four inches of rain and flooding the Mohawk River.

“Water was just running down the roadway,” the chief stated.

Heavy flooding on Hillside Road prompted Anania to order a Reverse 9-1-1 call, warning residents in the area to evacuate their homes. He said at least five homes were evacuated on Hillside, including one family that needed a rescue from the water. The Oriskany, Sylvan Beach and Taberg fire departments were dispatched to aid in water rescues and evacuations.

The water did eventually recede, and Anania said it left trees and other debris in the roadway. The evacuated residents were able to save property from their homes.

The floods destroyed part of the bridge on Hillside Road.

“Part of it’s gone,” the chief noted.

According to Delta Lake observers, about an inch of rain fell at Teugega Point, but much more fell in the Boonville area, prompting a significant rise in the level of the Mohawk River north of the lake as well as the lake. Property-owners with docks around the lake were advised to keep an eye on their docks to keep them secured.

According to the National Weather Service, the water level at Delta Lake was at a peak of 551.4 feet shortly after 1 a.m. on Tuesday morning — just below the minor flooding level of 551.5 feet. By late Tuesday afternoon, the water level had dropped to 551.2 feet and was expected to continue dropping through Friday.

The minor flood level at the lake is from 551.5 feet to 553.0 feet; the moderate flooding level is 553.0 feet to 554.0 feet. Anything above 554.0 feet is considered in the major flooding stage.

The record water level at the Delta Dam reached 553.25 feet on May 24, 2004. Other high marks were 553.01 feet on Nov. 1, 2019; 552.9 feet on April 28, 2011; 552.8 feet on Jan. 9, 1998; and 552.8 feet on April 17, 1994.

The record low level at the Delta Dam was 492.0 feet on March 2, 1959.

The Town of Western is still recovering from an EF1 tornado that touched down on July 8. Anania said they were in the process of wrapping up some clean up and debriefing on the tornado on Monday when the calls came in for the new rain damage.

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