Waterlogged Ways

Storm Floods Several Cattaraugus County Roads

Tom Crouse, Little Valley town highway superintendent, is pictured near the town barn and offices Saturday after heavy rain flooded several roads. The bulk of flooding was seen in the Little Valley area. Much of the water subsided by 6 p.m. P-J photo by Tim Frank

LITTLE VALLEY — Storms that dumped about 2 inches of rain left parts of Cattaraugus County under water for several hours over the weekend.

The bulk of flooding was seen Saturday afternoon in the village of Little Valley, where heavy rain caused the nearby Little Valley Creek to overflow. Dozens of videos and photographs posted to social media showed water flowing past homes and local businesses with motorists attempting to navigate flooded streets.

Dave Shinners, chief of the Little Valley Volunteer Fire Department, said firefighters responded anywhere from 30 to 50 calls for flooded basements within the village. He said crews were called in from surrounding departments to assist with the excess water.

Shinners said he has seen flooding in the past. However, the fire chief said he has never seen Route 353 — which runs through the center of the village — covered in water the way it was Saturday.

“We’ve never had water on (Route) 353 before,” he said.

Due to flooding, Shinners said he made the call to “shut down the whole village,” a decision he said wasn’t popular with motorists, but was done out of an abundance of caution.

“I thought the guys did an excellent job,” Shinners said of the volunteers. “People are criticizing me for shutting things down. The thing I am looking at is safety.”

Little Valley Mayor Jim Bowen, who was out of town when the storms hit, said he was amazed when he saw photos online of waterlogged streets.

Bowen said the Little Valley area saw a lot of rain Thursday, which he said likely contributed to the creek overflowing when another round of storms rolled through around 3 p.m. Saturday.

“The creek got a little more than I think it could hold,” said Bowen, who noted that he planned to contact the state Department of Transportation today to discuss the flooding.

Robert Young, village public works superintendent, said traveling on local roads proved difficult Saturday afternoon. He said he always advises against navigating streets covered in water.

“Two reasons,” he said. “First of all, it’s dangerous — you don’t know how deep it is. The second thing is that when vehicles come through they make waves. These waves go right up to people’s houses and makes things worse.”

Young said most of the water subsided by about 6 p.m. He said many of his crews were out cleaning streets to about 10 p.m.

“Everyone who was involved, like the fire departments, did a fantastic job,” Young said.