postheadericon Severe Storms Flood Portions of Lansing

lightningThe Tompkins County Department of Emergency Response issued an alert Tuesday warning motorists of road closures on both sides of the lake, due to flooding and downed trees and wires.  Hardest hit were Lansing and Ulysses, where Route 34/East Shore Drive in Lansing and Route 89/Taughannock Boulevard near the Taughannock Falls State Park were closed for at least a half hour Tuesday evening.  That storm followed on the heels of a thunderstorm Sunday that flooded parts of the Village of Lansing.  Village Mayor Donald Hartill said there was significant flooding on Cayuga Heights Road.

"It was partly a result of two culverts upstream on Oakcrest Road not doing their job," he said Monday.  "We're going to take a careful look at that.  The only way you can deal with this kind of flow is to distribute and make sure that those culverts are working properly."
Deputy Highway Superintendent Charlie Purcell says the Town of Lansing didn't suffer significant damage from Sunday's storm, but Tuesday was a different story.  Water poured down Waterwagon Road, and there was some flood damage on East Lake and the Lakewatch area.

"There was water running over Waterwagon Road on the lower end of the road," Purcell says. "It was six inches deep or so.  Four driveway culverts were completely washed out, and other ones had some small washes.  Of course the state DOT had much worse issues on East Shore Drive.  That's been ongoing.  So we were fortunate that we just had that isolated area."

NYSEG reported over 1500 customers lost their power in Tuesday's storm, about two thirds of those in Ulysses, at the height of the storm.  Additionally, a transformer blew out in the Myers neighborhood in Lansing.

After Sunday's rain Deputy Mayor Lynn Leopold said a stream on her property above East Shore Drive overflowed over a footbridge, which she said was about four and a half feet above the normal water level.  Hartill reported that the Triphammer Marketplace also had drainage issues from Sunday's storm, and rain caused hazardous driving conditions throughout the Village.

"It was just sheeting," he said. "We came down Triphammer Road in the Village and the windshield wipers on my SUV were going at maximum speed and it was not enough."

Hartill estimated about six inches of stone and debris had been washed onto the northbound land of Cayuga Heights Road.  With a Deputy Sheriff diverting traffic, Hartill moved the debris off the road, but said that water continued sheeting across the road.  Village DPW Superintendent John Courtney brought a big backhoe to the scene, with no better result.  Courtney returned again Monday, but was unable to curb the overflow.  Hartill told the board Monday he was waiting for Drain Brain to blow out the culvert with a high pressure washer.

"I think realistically we're going to have to replace that culvert with a bigger one, which is going to exacerbate downstream issues."

There was heavy rain in Myers Park and a large tree near the small playground fell over.  Purcell says the tree just missed hitting the playground.  Purcell says that the damage at the foot of Waterwagon Road wasn't as severe as it was in storms last year.

"We've been pretty fortunate at this point," he says. "We are certainly working on our end on future disaster preparedness.  We made out pretty much OK in this round."

This week's storms follow on the heels on a severe storm July 8th that knocked out power for over 4,000 Lansing residents, some of whom were left in the dark for two or three days.  Over 17,000 NYSEG customers lost power county-wide in that storm.

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