Flood warning issued in Schenectady County

February 21, 2018 04:32 PM

SCHENECTADY - The National Weather Service has issued a flood warning in Schenectady County. The warning was issued due to a 17-mile ice jam and rising temperatures that are expected to reach the low 70s on Wednesday. It's in effect until 6 p.m.

Areas near the Mohawk River experienced flooding early Wednesday morning. Streets leading to Riverside Park are closed.

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Schenectady County has an emergency notification system for landlines. People with unlisted numbers or cellphones must click here to sign up. If needed, an emergency shelter will also be set up at Scotia-Glenville High School.

NewsChannel 13 spoke with Dr. John Garver, a geology professor at Union College, who says this is the worst ice jam he's seen in a long time.

A section of the massive ice jam broke off and floated about five to seven miles down the Mohawk River. It then jammed again at Mabee Farm near Rotterdam Junction. The worry is that the warm weather will loosen it again and it will stop in a bad spot.

"The concern, of course, is that when this goes, it will release both ice and water. That water will hit the back of the other one and there may be a chain effect that occurs when that happens," Garver explained.

He is now working with the Albany County Sheriff's Department Drone Team. That team is working with the state.
Garver says it's unusual to have an ice jam last all winter like we've seen on the Mohawk. It's the warm weather and extreme cold that's created this mess.

"This is a 17-mile long ice jam that starts in the Rexford Knolls, goes up through the Schenectady pool and backs up almost to Amsterdam," noted Garver.

In the thick fog Wednesday morning around the Mohawk River, floodwaters rose very slowly. The lower-end of the streets near Riverside Park in the Stockade flooded. Homes weren't touched yet.

In Glenville, the water rose into the parking lot at the Freeman's Bridge fishing access site.

In Scotia, the water was up to the back of Jumpin' Jacks, but it's nothing the people here haven't seen before.
"To me, this is normal. Flooding happens pretty much a lot around here," noted Alicia Gordon of Scotia. "I mean, it's to the point where Schenectady County Community College over there – that parking lot would flood and there would be actual canoe races in the parking lot."

The New York State Canal Corporation had more manpower than usual at Lock 9 in Rotterdam Junction Wednesday morning -- right in the middle of the 17-mile section of ice.

Schenectady County Community College was closed on Wednesday, due to the flooding concerns.

We are also keeping in contact with emergency management in Montgomery and Warren counties. Montgomery County is dealing with some street-level flooding and is monitoring the Mohawk River and the Schoharie Creek. Meanwhile, Warren County is keeping an eye on the Schroon and Hudson rivers.

For tips on how to stay safe during a flood, click here.


WNYT Staff

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