Niagara Gazette

January 7, 2014

Crews deployed to Cayuga Island amid flooding concerns

By Mark Scheer
Niagara Gazette

City police officers and crews and equipment from the Niagara Falls Department of Public Works are being deployed to Cayuga Island amid the issuance of a flood warning by the National Weather Service.

Mayor Paul Dyster confirmed the decision to send personnel to the Island just after 11 a.m., less than two hours after the weather service in Buffalo warned of possible flash flooding in southwestern Niagara County, including Niagara Falls and Grand Island. 

As of just after 11 a.m. Tuesday, Dyster said the city was not aware of any specific flooding incidents impacting Cayuga Island homeowners, however he said crews were deployed in an effort to provide assistance to residents as needed. 

"At this point, it has not caused any damage to anyone's property that we know of," Dyster said. "Obviously, it's a dynamic situation that's being monitored very closely." 

The flood warning, which runs through 3:30 p.m., noted the potential for ice jam flooding along the upper Niagara River as a result of high winds and increased ice flows. The notice indicated that a reading taken at the LaSalle Yacht Club Tuesday morning registered as "slightly below" the zero damage elevation.

The weather service also noted that an ice jam has formed between the New York Power Authority intakes and Cayuga Island.

Ice breaker vessels from the New York Power Authority and Ontario Power Generation are stepping up efforts to keep the channels open to the Upper Niagara River intakes that provide water to the Robert Moses Power Plant .

Officials noted that a heavy buildup of ice near the intakes could disrupt power generation at the Lewiston facility. 

The weather service also warned of a potential flooding of low-lying areas on the Robert Moses Parkway under the north Grand Island Bridge. It described conditions as "unstable and could worsen." State Troopers were monitoring the situation on the parkway's northern section Tuesday morning and a sign was put in place warning motorists of possible flooding.