Rain wreaks havoc on Southern Tier

Wild weather in the Southern Tier has caused major flooding and property damage.

A storm Wednesday and heavy storms in the beginning of the week were precursors to more rain on the way, according to the National Weather Service in Buffalo.

A severe thunderstorm watch is in effect through this morning along with a flash flood watch until Friday afternoon.

Severe rain has hit Chautauqua County hard this week especially in Gowanda, Randolph and Silver Creek.

Two trees in Busti collapsed due to heavy wind and rain on Wednesday, one on Big Tree Road and the other on Cowing Road.

John Palmer said he received a text message from his daughter shortly before returning home from work that a pine tree in his back yard at 1946 Big Tree Road had collapsed the roof of the back porch, and further crashed into the home’s sun room, causing severe damage to the structure.

Bill Sheesley of Cowing Road said it sounded like a tornado was tearing through his yard when heavy winds caused a portion of a maple tree on his property to snap off, landing in the road.

“All I heard first was thunder, then the rain cut loose and the wind came through,” he said.

Kirk Apffel, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Buffalo said heavy, steady rain will continue throughout Friday evening, while some areas may experience more flooding.

“The primary reason for heavy flooding is the terrain,” he said. “Some areas will tend to be more prone than others, and a lot of areas in the Southern Tier are next to steep mountains rather than large open rolling fields that don’t change in elevation very much.”

Apfell said a slow-moving frontal boundary is approaching from the west, creating a deep southernly flow that taps into moisture from the Gulf of Mexico.

A state of emergency was declared in Gowanda on Tuesday due to flooding, while Randolph residents experienced washed out driveways, flooded basements and downed trees.

The Cattaraugus County Sheriffs Office issued a “No Unnecessary Travel” warning, and closed portions of routes 242, 353 and 62 due to the flooding. Silver Creek experienced heavy rainfall as well, causing Walnut and Silver creeks to overflow onto several streets.

All three communities continued to remove debris throughout Wednesday.

Conditions will improve late Friday, with cooler weather and showers over the weekend.

The high for today is 75 degrees, with a high on Friday of 50 degrees.

High temperatures for Saturday and Sunday will be in the lower 60s.