The City of Ithaca is looking for volunteers and people with pickup trucks who are willing to help this afternoon and tomorrow at the DPW's sand and sandbag distribution location at 245 Pier Road. Area residents can pick up sand and bags today and tomorrow from 9am to 6pm next to the Streets and Facilities salt storage barn, beyond The Haunt on Willow Avenue.
Sandbags in a 2007 Chicago flood. Photo by Amy Guth under Creative Commons attribution license.5th ward alderperson Deb Mohlenhoff encourages area residents to make sure their neighbors who aren't constantly online are aware of the risk of flooding this weekend, and the availability of sandbags.
If you can spare an hour or two as a volunteer to help neighbors fill and move sandbags, or if you need sandbags and need a hand, head down to 245 Pier Road or fill out the online form at http://tinyurl.com/sandbag-help.
City officials say this morning's snow "should not be a contributing factor in the flooding," but temperatures above freezing this afternoon and tomorrow will melt remaining snow and ice, and we're expecting a half inch to three quarters of an inch of rain.
The warmer weather could help melt the remaining ice in Cascadilla Creek and Fall Creek that's been backing up creek flow into low-lying areas of the City, but it could also result in new chunks of ice breaking loose upstream, flowing down the creeks, and contributing to the problem.
"The warm-water pumping has been very effective in clearing the ice," says Ithaca Fire Department public information officer Lt. Thomas T. Basher Jr. "That success has prompted workers to move upstream with similar tactics, and more pumps and hoses are being deployed to continue with the ice melting effort."
All of the streets that were closed to traffic or parking earlier this week have been reopened, but the City warns that odd/even parking restrictions are still in effect, to ensure that crews can get to and clear storm drains on each side of each street over the next few days. The recently closed Neighborhood Pride Grocery on Hancock Street says area residents are welcome to use their parking lot. City parking garages are free over the weekend, and Chief of Staff Kevin Sutherland says the City will waive the usual 24-hour parking limit in the Seneca Street or Green Street garages for cars that enter after 8pm tonight. "Assuming we've mitigated the flooding issues by then, people will need to get their cars out by 8am on Monday," or incur parking fees, Sutherland says.