A second heavy rainstorm within days of the last hit the Lockport area hard.
Following a Tuesday afternoon rainstorm, a state of emergency was declared countywide that included a driving ban as emergency crews worked to clear away debris or move vehicles incapacitated by flood waters. The worst of the storm on the eastern end of the county centered on the city and towns of Lockport and areas north of the escarpment, county officials said.
After Saturday’s rain soaked the ground and caused many basement floods in the town, Supervisor Mark Crocker, said the Tuesday evening thunderstorms was “nature at its worst,” as he tried to navigate the flooded roads to his home.
“This is definitely a 100-year storm,” he said. “There’s 3 feet of water on Lincoln (Avenue). Just about every street in the town is flooded.”
While the level of the water wasn’t high enough to mandate boats for water rescue, the National Weather Service reported that as of 7 p.m. Tuesday, 5.7 inches of rainfall had fallen in Lockport in two hours.
Corey Fearby, a young father, was frantic as both his tub and toilet were overflowing with water, placing about 7 inches in his bathroom and an inch in his kitchen. He’s been living at the same address for two years now, in a basement apartment on Robinson Road and this is the fourth time in a week that he’s been flooded.
“They’ve got a fire engine out front, pumping it out,” Fearby said. “E-5 from Rapids.”
Rachel Johnson reported that her basement apartment was still dry as every tenant was using buckets to bail out the water in the bathtub in their respective apartments, but a “moat” of water was surrounding their building.
“I think we’ll have to leave,” she said, explaining that the Tim Hortons next door was higher ground.
Crocker said there is nothing he can do. Earlier that day he’d spoken to the US&J about Saturday’s storm, cataloging it as a “100-year storm.”
“That doesn’t mean it can’t happen again,” he said to this reporter.
Ironically, he was more right than he wanted to be.
A few short hours later he was trying to get home to his family and called the US&J up to share his experience.
“All pumps are going and all lift stations,” he said. “The town is a wreck, every street is flooded with a foot or more of water, and there’s nothing we can do. There’s another storm coming in an hour.”
Lockport Mayor Michelle Roman and Police Chief Steve Abbott could not be reached for comment.
Residents of the City of Lockport, however, reached out to the US&J, reporting flooding on Hoover Parkway, Willow Street, and Roosevelt Drive near Lincoln, as well as streets further north near Market Street, Vine Street and Garden Street. Others reported Waterman Street was underwater, along with Maple Street and Miller Place, but by 9 p.m. water levels had receded.
"A couple homes on Price Street had their basements completely flooded," said Alma Lafferty, city resident.
While flooding continues, city residents are learning lessons in two 100-year events.
"Residents (should) have a safety plan and have easy access to what numbers to call in the city," Bethany Patterson, who's home was flooded, said. "Especially those in crucial need."