Ontario County stocks up on sandbags, preps for rain

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ONTARIO COUNTY, N.Y. — Homeowners in Ontario County are cleaning up after Sunday’s heavy rain. But they’re also preparing for the possibility it could happen again. The weekend could bring more rain to those affected areas.

On Thursday, crews from Ontario County were loading trunks with sandbags for hours.

Ontario County Administrator Chris DeBolt said the community has truly showed up in support of everyone affected by Sunday’s rain. Now, they’re looking ahead to the next possible storm.

“Sandbags can be stacked strategically, to make dikes or weirs,” he said. “It will be too large of an undertaking to try and moat off their entire home, but they can use them effectively to create small dams around basement wells, entry doors, sliding doors.”

The demand is certainly there.

“People were queued up before we opened at 10 a.m., and its been a steady stream,” said DeBolt. “Our crews are energized, and they’re working their tails off.”

He added, “We have the Canandaigua football program out here, they called this morning and said, ‘we’re here to help, what can we do.’”

On Monday, DeBolt said crews from the state, city and county went to 180 homes to assess damage and talk to homeowners. While no one lost a life in these storms, it’s been traumatic.

“We’re extremely fortunate that we avoided the ultimate human tragedy, nobody lost their lives, right, but people have lost a life’s worth of memories, people have lost their homes, the place where they raised their family, the place they call their home — that’s traumatic,” DeBolt said.

Some people are still without power, because their electrical boxes were underwater on Sunday.

“We’re sandbagging my stepfathers house because of flooding,” said Chris Stock of Canandaigua. “The other day, he had 10 foot of water in the basement, the power has been out for a few days now, we’re just trying to save what we can.”

DeBolt said the efforts to hand out sandbags will continue, as long as supply and demand is there.

The sandbag handout was held outside the Canandaigua City School District Administrative Building.

Ontario County beaches remain closed as a precautionary measure, after city officials tested the water from the storms and found harmful bacteria in it. The drinking water, however, is safe to drink.