Albany, N.Y. (WHAM) - A State of Emergency was declared across 14 counties, including Monroe, Ontario, Seneca, Wayne and Yates Counties, related to the flooding and rainfall on Tuesday.
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the declaration for Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, Monroe, Onondaga, Ontario, Schulyer, Seneca, Steuben, Tioga, Wayne, Yates, and contiguous counties. It will be in effect until August 21.
The governor was in Seneca County in the morning to survey the damage near Lodi along Seneca Lake.
State agencies are mobilizing resources and personnel for flash flooding related to heavy rainfall. That includes 50 members of the New York National Guard and ten vehicles, as well as DOT crews who will continue to clear culverts and drainage basins to help ensure they flow freely. Team with boats and high axle vehicles are also on scene to help with response efforts.
"I want to make this point as serious as a heart attack: Floods are nothing to play with," Cuomo said, as he urged those who live in flood-prone areas to evacuate if there's a threat of flooding.
"People like to stay in their homes, I understand that," said Cuomo. "But if you live in areas that have flooded before, it's apparently safe, but it can be ultimately very dangerous to remain in your home."
He said those who did not evacuate and had to be rescued created potentially dangerous situations for first responders.
"There’s a sea of debris floating out there in the (Seneca) lake," said Cuomo. "Propane tanks, sheds, it looks like a garbage heap floating in the water- The boats have to find their way through that, it’s a very complicated, dangerous situation."
Cuomo described both the initial rescue, and the impending cleanup from the flood damage, as multi-step processes.
He says the cleanup could take several days, with many roads blocked by debris thrown by the flood waters. In some cases, roads and other infrastructure were torn apart by the flood waters.
State Police have sent 30 troopers, including divers, to the command post in Seneca County, as well as three boats, two four-wheel drive UTVs, and an incident command vehicle to help clear the area. Other teams with the DEC are also on scene.
New York State Thruway Authority staff are actively inspecting drainage systems and removing debris along the roadway.