Officials say two elderly people had to be evacuated from their homes when a sudden burst of heavy rains Monday flooded approx 30 homes and water overran many roadways
Residents are being asked to conserve water because officials have had to shut down the reservoir.
Gowanda, NY (WBEN) - When the weather took a turn for the worse in Gowanda Monday night, Village officials had a tool that wasn't available years earlier when floods ravaged their region, and they say reverse 9-11, Code Red as it's called, saved lives. .
"I think the biggest thing we were aware of is getting people notified quicker," said Gowanda Emergency Manager Nick Crassi. "We had no way of notifying people in the past, and just recently we signed up for the Code Red system, and that was great."
The Code Red System is a type of reverse-911 phone system that alerts residents who sign up when there is an emergency situation. A Code Red alert can be sent as a call, text, or email, and is used in many municipalities to record and send out emergency messages to citizens in just minutes. Municipalities can also send follow up messages saying when a major road has reopened, or missing person has been found.
In Gowanda, the system was used to Alert residents, some of whom were able to go back to their homes from work and possibly prevent further flood damage.
"When we had just the warning of the flash floods, we were able to get a warning out," said Gowanda Mayor Heather McKeever. "When it became imminent that it was starting to flood, we were able to get that message to (residents) via phone, text, and email."
Crassi says that about 1,260 phones in the Gowanda area have signed up for Code Red. Gowanda Assistant Fire Chief Steve Raiport thinks the system worked so well, that he's urging more people to sign up. "We strongly urge all residents to sign up so they are aware of what's going on, so when we do send out more messages they know what's going on," Raiport said. "We will continue sending out messages through the system to the residents advising them on what's going on."
|Earlier Coverage: Flooding In Gowanda
HAZARDOUS TRAVEL-STATE OF EMERGENCY in Village of Gowanda. NO UNECESSARY TRAVEL in Western Cattaraugus County
A sudden burst of morning rain caused damage to homes in the Gowanda area, triggering evacuations and closing many Southern Tier roads for much of the morning.
At its peak, Route 62 in Dayton, Rt. 353 in the Village of Cattaraugus were both shutdown, and the Cattaraugus County Sheriff had imposed a no unnecessary travel advisory for western Cattaraugus County.
In Gowanda, roughly 30 homes were damaged by flooding. Much of the damage resulted from Thatcher Brook overflowing its banks.
Emergency officials say no injuries were reported, but damage -concentrated on Chapel St. in the village of Gowanda- will take several days to repair. "We'll be able to help them out with pumping their cellars and getting their yards hopefully cleaned up," said Gowanda Emergency Manager Nick Crassi.
In 2009, flash floods ravaged Gowanda, washing away houses and cars and damaging over a quarter of the roads in Cattaraugus county. While the weather was not nearly as bad as the storm that caused the flooding in 2009, Crassi says another thing helped officials avoid a similar situation.
"I think the biggest thing we were aware of is getting people notified quicker," Crassi said. "We had no way of notifying people in the past, and just recently we signed up for the Code Red system, and that was great." The Code Red System is a type of reverse-911 phone system that alerts residents who sign up of emergency situations. Crassi says that about 1,260 phones in the area have signed up for Code Red.
The National Weather Service has taken down the advisories and warnings posted earlier.
Here's the latest road closings from NITTEC, the regional transportation alert co-operative
READ: AccuWeather Forecast | READ: The Extended Forecast