Mayor Myrick declares state of emergency to deal with ice jam flooding on Ithaca's Northside

January 7, 2014

As the Department of Public Works continues its efforts to clear ice that's blocking Cascadilla Creek, Mayor Svante Myrick has declared a state of emergency in the City of Ithaca so the City can secure outside resources, if needed. Ice jams Monday morning caused by weekend melting created localized flooding in Fall Creek and other parts of Ithaca's northside.

Flooding along First Street. Photo courtesy of Armin Heurich.Flooding along First Street. Photo courtesy of Armin Heurich.Some areas flooded again this morning when excess water erupted through storm drains, despite the frigid overnight temperatures. The City says the 100-300 blocks of First Street are closed to all traffic and parking is prohibited until further notice. The 400 block of Adams Street, 100-200 blocks of Madison Street, and 200-600 blocks of Willow Avenue are open to traffic, but parking is prohibited until further notice.

Do not attempt to drive into a flooded roadway, and be extremely cautious about driving on roads without obvious surface water. A little bit of water on pavement could turn into black ice.

City DPW crews spent much of Monday attempting to break up the ice jam in Cascadilla Creek that was causing water to back up into neighborhoods near the Haunt. Pets should be kept away from the flood water, which could be contaminated and is not safe to drink. It's also unsafe to assume that any ice is solid enough to walk on.

City of Ithaca Alderperson Deborah Mohlenhoff, who signed the state of emergency declaration, encourages Fall Creek area residents who can't drive to their homes to park in nearby parking lots, such as the Neighborhood Pride Grocery lot. Neighborhood Pride's owners have said area residents are welcome to park there overnight. Mayor Myrick says odd-even parking regulations will be enforced so crews have clear access to storm drains.

Most school districts around Central New York were closed today due to the extremely cold and windy conditions, and the National Weather Service has extended its Wind Chill Warning for the area until 10am tomorrow. Wednesday's forecast should bring some sun, and temperatures in the high teens or around 20, but the day will start around 3 degrees with wind chills around 15 below zero.

The Mayor says officials are monitoring all of the City's creeks, and residents who live near Six Mile Creek, Fall Creek, and Cascadilla Creek should remain vigilant. Residents in flood-prone areas should remove valuable items from basement floors, remove ice that's visible in nearby storm drains, and be certain their sump pumps are working. Residents without a working sump pump should obtain and install one.

The City says residents whose basements flood who don't have a working sump pump can contact the Tompkins County Department of Emergency Response at 607-273-7288 for assistance.

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