Cattaraugus County and much of Western New York remains under a flood watch until early Thursday as expected rain will mix with melting snow and ice.
Two of Cattaraugus County emergency officials’ biggest fears in a flood watch are always Cattaraugus Creek in Gowanda and portions of the Allegheny River.
Chris Baker, director of Cattaraugus County Emergency Services, told the Times Herald Monday afternoon emergency personnel are monitoring creeks and the river during the flood watch.
“I just spoke to fire officials in Gowanda and they said everything is looking OK on Cattaraugus Creek,” Baker said. “We’re in contact with the state Department of Environmental Conservation. We do not have any (flooding) issues at this time.”
Emergency Services is also in contact with the National Weather Service, Baker said. “Nothing stands out. The ice is nothing of significance. I think we’re good at this point.”
Baker said a cool night Monday and less rain than originally forecast over the next few days will probably mitigate the flood threat.
Showers overnight Monday were forecast to be around a quarter of an inch with a low temperature around 41.
Today it will be cloudy this morning and sunny in the afternoon with a high of 42 and a low of 25. Rain is forecast Wednesday with a high of 42 and a low of 39, while Thursday should see a high of 50 and a low of 33. Rain and snow are in the forecast Friday, with a high of 39 and a low of 15.
National Weather Service meteorologist Jim Mitchell said that with cooler temperatures and only around a quarter-inch of rain overnight, the threat of flooding from ice jams will lessen.
“It will be below freezing by midday (today),” Mitchell said. “The low temperatures will stop everything.”
The Allegheny River at Olean was at 4.4 feet at 3 p.m. Monday and was forecast to rise to 6.9 feet by Wednesday at noon.
That is more than 3 feet below the action level where water will start lapping across West River Road in Olean.
In Gowanda, Cattaraugus Creek was at 5.4 feet at 4 p.m. Monday, heading to 6.6 feet later today.
It will begin falling on Wednesday. The action level in Cattaraugus Creek is 8 feet.
Officials in Gowanda are also keeping an eye on Thatcher Brook which often overflows its banks in the village when the creek gets obstructed with debris.
(Contact reporter Rick Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter, @RMillerOTH)