County battles flood waters

Heavy rainfall led to significant flooding Wednesday as rising rivers and creeks gradually spilled over their banks and into homes, businesses and roadways.

According to the National Weather Service in Buffalo, between 2 and 4 inches of rain fell across the central and southern portions of Chautauqua County.

Road closures abound, including Jones and Gifford Avenue, Tiffany Avenue, Buffalo Street at Blackstone Avenue in Jamestown and portions of Routes 394, 380 and 62.

A section of Route 60, between Kiantone Road and the intersection of Route 62, was also closed due to a significant amount of water on the roadway.

Floors At Your Door and Southern Auto Garage, two businesses in the area, experienced massive flooding in their parking areas. The extent of interior property damage has yet to be determined.

Members of the Kiantone Fire Department responded to a downed tree on Route 60, slightly west of Kiantone Road, that fell on the roadway at approximately 10:40 a.m.

The tree took down a power line and forced drivers headed toward Jamestown to take a detour onto Peck Settlement Road.

A similar incident occurred in Lakewood at 9:41 a.m., when a giant oak tree uprooted – reportedly due to its dampened foundation – and collapsed on Summit Avenue.

Lakewood fire crews and National Grid responded to the scene after the tree knocked down a power line and briefly caught fire. No injuries or significant property damage were reported.

According to Matt Russo, battalion fire chief with the Jamestown Fire Department, approximately 99 calls were made to the department regarding flooded basements.

“We had five crews out that (were pumping out basements),” said Russo, adding that he had to call in off-shift crews to assist. “This has been a significant event. We haven’t received this many calls … probably in the last 15 years.”

The Falconer Fire Department also tended to flooded basements well into the evening.

The Red Cross responded to the flooding by opening shelters at Falconer and Frewsburg central schools to aid those forced to evacuate.

Fortunately, the National Weather Service in Buffalo ended its flash flood watch for the county Wednesday at 8 p.m.

The forecast calls for partly sunny skies today with only a 30 percent chance of showers tonight.

Friday and Memorial Day weekend are also expected to have favorable weather conditions, with the latter forecast to have mostly sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-70s.