(Updated 5:45 p.m.) The state of emergency will remain in effect for Chenango County until 5 a.m., when it will be lifted for all but the Towns of Bainbridge, Coventry, Greene and Smithville. Until that time, all roadways are closed to non-essential traffic. A travel advisory urging against unnecessary travel will remain in effect until further notice, even after the road closure order is lifted tomorrow morning.
“There are still dozens of local, county and state roads that have been severely damaged during this historic flood,” stated Chairman Richard Decker of the Chenango County Board of Supervisors, who issued the modified emergency order. “Many will be closed for days or weeks to come. If you must travel, please exercise caution.”
According to emergency officials, motorists who choose to ignore the road closure order run not only the risk of being ticketed, but in the event of an accident, they may not be covered by their insurance.
Although the rain has stopped at present, there is still a risk of flooding on roads throughout the region as rivers and streams continue to overflow their banks.
“The Chenango River crested in Sherburne and appears to be receding,” reported Chenango County Emergency Management Officer Matthew Beckwith, and the Canasawacta Creek is no longer a danger. However, the Chenango has yet to crest in Norwich and points south.
The Susquehanna, which is already spilling its banks in Bainbridge and Afton, is not predicted to crest until approximately 8 p.m.
Residents continue to be evacuated from areas within the villages and towns of Afton, Bainbridge, Greene, New Berlin, Sherburne, South New Berlin, Sherburne, Norwich and Oxford.
According to Beckwith, residents are notified by reverse-911 call of the imminent danger of flooding and encouraged to evacuate.
The American Red Cross has established shelters at the DCMO BOCES campus in North Norwich, Greenlawn Elementary School in Bainbridge, the Oxford High School, Afton Central School and the Episcopal Church in New Berlin. A shelter set up at the Greene Fire Station last night is being relocated to the Greene High School.
According to Red Cross representative Kenneth Austin, approximately 45 people were making use of these shelters as of 3 p.m. Those numbers are expected to climb, particularly in the southern parts of the county.
As of 4:19 p.m., NYSEG was reporting 1,129 of its 22,984 customers in Chenango were without power. The electric utility has sent two truck-loads of water and dry ice to the Bainbridge area, from which it will be distributed to the hardest-hit communities.