Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

December 28, 2013

Aftermath

City cleanup expected to take a while

BY JOE OLENICK joe.olenick@lockportjournal.com
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — The power’s back on, but the cleanup will take some time for the City of Lockport.

In the aftermath of Sunday’s ice storm that saw thousands go without power in Niagara County, city workers are still cleaning up downed trees. Friday, workers were out with chipper trucks and front-end loaders, trying to clean up what they could.

Sunday’s storm dropped inches of ice on the city, as almost all of the county’s volunteer fire companies were called into action. The Niagara County Sheriff’s Office dispatch handled four times the amount of average calls.

Mayor Michael W. Tucker said Friday he believed the cleanup will take two to four weeks. And once the snow goes away, there could be additional cleanup needed, he said.

“This is going to take some time,” Tucker said. “We’re going to be working on this for the foreseeable future.”

Residents can put out what ever branches or brush they have, the mayor said. Workers will take it, it’s just a question of when. Niagara County will be lending a truck Monday to help out, Tucker said.

Damage otherwise wasn’t too bad, Tucker said. Some houses were hit with branches, some by massive branches, while others had little damage or flooded basements. The flooding was a result of sump pumps not working after the power went out.

“We’re grateful no one got hurt,” Tucker said.

In the Town of Lockport, most of the outages that lasted into Monday were centered around Crosby Road. Supervisor Marc R. Smith said NYSEG did “a real nice job,” in both restoring power and keeping town officials updated.

The biggest problem the town faced wasn’t power outages, but rather flooding on Forestview Drive. The road is located in the southern part of the town, jotting out east off of Lockwood Lane, a street just off of Tonawanda Creek Road.

Smith said Forestview was flooded for two days, primarily because nearby Mud Creek overflowed its banks.

“It was an unusual situation,” Smith said. “But we’re looking at new ways (to fix the flooding.) It’s the third time that road has had this problem.”

The creek has flooded before, so in an effort to fix the problem, a blockage in a nearby drain line was removed recently. Of course, that doesn’t explain Sunday’s flooding. Smith said the town may look into something like improving the nearby pond.

Mud Creek is in the Rapids hamlet, located in the southeastern corner of the town.

Town residents can start putting any tree branches out for a townwide brush pickup next week. Smith said workers will make pickups starting Jan. 1, weather permitting. If weather does delay the pickup, workers will do so shortly after Jan. 1, Smith said.

The National Weather Service said today’s forecast calls for partly sunny skies, with a high near 37 degrees and low around 33. There’s a slight chance of snow or rain. The temperature should reach 40 on Sunday, before dropping to a low around 14. The service said there’s a chance of snow, but even if it does come, it’ll be less than a tenth of an inch of snow awaiting people as they wake up Monday morning.

Contact reporter Joe Olenick at 439-9222, ext. 6241 or follow him on Twitter @joeolenick.