A strong string of thunderstorms wreaked havoc in Cortland County last night, several people had to be evacuated from homes and businesses, including residents at the Walden Place senior citizen home in Cortlandville.
The Towns of Cortlandville, Virgil, Cincinnatus, Willet, Marathon and Taylor sustained heavy flooding and storm related problems last night, several roads were flooded or washed out.
In the Town of Cortlandville which was among the harder hit areas, firefighters had to evacuate 70 elderly people from the Walden Place Senior Community on Bennie Road after flood waters entered the building. The residents were placed on buses and taken to the Cortland Regional Medical Center, the holiday Inn express and the Ramada Inn in Cortland, the Cortland County Chapter of the Red Cross assisted with the emergency shelter. We are told Walden Place sustained substantial flood damage.
Employees at the Price Chopper and Wal-Mart stores in Cortlandville had to be rescued from rising waters. The Marathon Fire Departments water rescue fan boat was brought in to help evacuate the stores. The boat was also used to rescue residents trapped in their homes along Route 215 in the Town of Virgil.
A portion of Route 13 near Bennie Road was closed last night, but has since reopened. A portion of Bennie Road is still be closed.
Several homes in the hamlet of Blodgett Mills were inundated with water, vehicles floated around like pool toys. Firefighters had to evacuate some residents using the Marathon rescue boat. Route 11 between Blodgettt Mills and Messengerville was shut down due to a landslide, the D-O-T was clearing the debris.
There were reports of vehicles underwater, trees down on top of vehicles, and motorists that were trapped in their cars by rising water.
The newsroom spoke to Cortland County Fire and Emergency Management Director Scott Romans, Cortland County’s major commercial district which includes the local Wal-Mart store, Price Chopper, and Lowes all sustained some level of flooding. Wal-Mart is currently closed after flood waters entered the store.
Wal-Mart Employees are being told not to report to work at this time, they are working to reopen. We will bring you any updates as they are made available.
Romans says state emergency management officials have been in county monitoring and assessing the damage, Romans says it does not appear that the storm caused the level of public infrastructure damage that the county saw in July, but many private property owners have sustained losses.
The water retention control system at the Cortland Water Works held back some the flood waters that raced into the city, but even that structure was overwhelmed and water poured over the earthen wall and flooded several residential streets including Townley Ave., Floral Ave, Groton Ave., Madison Street and Homer Avenue.
There are reports of several flooded basements in and around Cortland, fire crews are pumping out basements and highway crews are removing debris.
Motorist are urged to use caution as they drive near the flood impacted areas as some damage may not yet been reported.