Sandbags distributed ahead of forecasted flooding in Ontario County

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CANANDAIGUA, N.Y. – Just days after some areas of Ontario County were hit by major flooding, county leaders are bracing themselves for another round of heavy rainfall.

The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch starting at 8 a.m. Thursday for Ontario and Wayne counties.

In Ontario County, emergency operations teams are making and going over contingency plans ahead of the storm.

Last Sunday, four inches of rain fell in 45 minutes and caused flooding in some parts of the county, leading to some evacuations, power outages, and flooded basements.

Ontario County Administrator Chris DeBolt says his team is constantly monitoring the weather forecast so they’re ready. Part of the prep work involves checking on the infrastructure to make sure all that water has somewhere to go. Crews from engineering and public works are removing debris from the waterways and making sure that all culverts are unplugged, to make sure water has someplace to go.

“We’ve got DPW crews and engineering crews out right now walking the entire watershed. We’re doing everything that we can to make sure that the debris has been removed from the waterways. All the culverts are unplugged. All the storm basins have been vacuumed out to make sure the infrastructure we have in place has as much capacity as possible, and we’re doing some contingency planning on anything else that we can do to potentially mitigate the impacts of what might happen tomorrow,” DeBolt said.

Ontario County and the City of Canandaigua are distributing sandbags for residents. They will be available at the Canandaigua City School District Administrative Building at 143 N. Pearl St. starting at 10 a.m. Thursday.

DeBolt says people who live in Ontario County should also be preparing.

“Have a to-go bag. Have a plan in place if you’re displaced unexpectedly. Where are you going to go? I think for all those close to 100 people that were rescued during the height of the storm on Sunday evening, that’s likely an experience they don’t want to go through again,” he said.

The swimming beaches at Kershaw Park, Deep Run Park and Onanda Park are closed due to elevated levels of bacteria detected by laboratory testing, according to Ontario County Public Health. The recent heavy rains and flooding washed contaminated stormwater into Canandaigua Lake, and testing Tuesday showed levels of E. coli and other coliform bacteria above New York beach water quality standards, according to Public Health.

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