Several school districts have already decided to close tomorrow with extremely cold wind chills in the forecast, but in the meantime, above-freezing temperatures yesterday and this morning resulted in flooding for Fall Creek and Ithaca's northside.
Flooding on Lincoln Street near the Dey Street and Route 13 intersection. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Lawrence Birnbaum.Ice jams in Cascadilla Creek resulted in flooding this morning around Dey Street, Hancock Street, and Lincoln Street as rushing snowmelt waters escaped the bounds of the area's streams, diverted by chunks of ice that had broken free farther upstream.
Mayor Svante Myrick says the City has brought in large equipment from out of town to break up the ice jam, and the flood water is beginning to recede. The Mayor says the water level has dropped about three inches since the equipment arrived.
Ithaca City School District, New Roots Charter School, Trumansburg, Lansing, Groton, Dryden, Spencer - Van Etten, and Syracuse school districts have already announced as of Monday afternoon that they will be closed tomorrow. Union-Endicott's Thomas J. Watson Elementary School is closed today due to a burst pipe, and GIAC is closed due to a heat system malfunction.
Homer Central School District is expanding bus coverage tomorrow to assist students who normally walk to school. To have children picked up by a school bus in the morning, parents should call the bus garage at 607-749-1221 before 7am Tuesday morning. At the end of the day, K-5 students picked up in the morning will be brought home by bus. Junior high school students can sign up in the main office and senior high school students can sign up in the attendance office for a ride home.
Monday's flood waters could result in damage to storm drains, water pipes, and building foundations as ice forms in the ground tonight and tomorrow.
Parts of the New York State Thruway in Western New York will be closed this evening due to the extreme weather conditions, with heavy lake effect snow expected to bring as much as four inches per hour and a total of three feet of accumulation. The Thruway is closed to commercial vehicles between Exit 55 and Exit 61 as of 3pm today, and will be closed to all traffic on that stretch after 8pm tonight. All vehicles traveling westbound will be detoured off the Thruway at Exit 50 (I-290 West) and all eastbound traffic will be detoured at Exit 61 (Shortman Road, Ripley).
State officials say motorists heading west into Pennsylvania should exit the Thruway at Exit 46 (Henrietta) to I-390 southbound and I-86 westbound. Eastbound travelers on I-90 in Pennsylvania should take I-86 east and then I-390 north to rejoin the Thruway.
The Ithaca Fire Department reminded residents never to use lighters, blowtorches, or any other open flame to attempt to thaw frozen water pipes. IFD says recent fires on Slaterville Road and Linn Street were caused by attempts to thaw frozen pipes. They suggest a hair dryer aimed at an uncovered portion of pipe. It could take 20-30 minutes to thaw a pipe, but even if the frozen portion is outside the house, heat conducted along the pipe should thaw it eventually. Make sure you know where and how to turn off water in your house in the event a frozen pipe bursts.