Updated 10/27/2012 07:43 PM
Utica takes precautions against extreme flooding
Sandy has people in flood prone areas on edge. The big storm also has leaders on their toes. Our Cara Thomas tells us how Utica is preparing for stormy days ahead.
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UTICA, N.Y. -- What looks peaceful and serene now, may not be in a few days. Meteorologists are expecting a huge storm to tear through the northeast, and communities are preparing.
Utica's Mayor Robert Palmieri said, "We're looking at one of the largest storms coming up the East Coast that we've talked about in over 100 years."
Department chairs for the City of Utica met on Saturday morning. They put their heads together to figure out a plan of action for Sandy. Their biggest concern is Halleck's Ravine, a waterway in Northern Utica, which has caused numerous problems in the past.
"And at times it backs up and when that happens we get flooding on Genessee Street which then goes down to Roosevelt Drive," said David Short, Utica's Public Works Commissioner.
"Roosevelt Drive experiences severe flooding when the rain comes. And residents say when they heard Sandy was heading their way, they got a bit nervous."
One resident, Irv Jenkins, said, "Years past it's been, you know, 5 to 6 feet in the road here and you're cellar is filled up to the first floor, cellar walls collapse and it's just a mess here."
To prevent extreme flooding, the city is doing something different. They're making sandbags to protect the homes most often affected. The city is also clearing out the ravine to try to prevent blockages. Leaders want people to clear the roads and sewer drains of leaves and brush, but even those precautions might not be enough.
"We have flooding issues if we have an inch and a half of rain. In the main areas that we know we have problems with. This storm, they're telling us anywhere between 2 to 6 inches as of this morning. We're preparing for the worst," said Short.
City crews spent the last year opening up the water channels and ravines to help the flooding problems. This storm could test all that hard work.
Leaders also want neighborhoods to plan ahead. They are advising people to stock up on non-perishable foods, water, flashlights and first aid kits.