Southern Tier ranked highest risk flooding area in New York

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STEUBEN COUNTY, NY (WETM) – Following the devastating floods in August, a new report, that looks at potential flood risk, indicated the Southern Tier as the highest risk area in all of New York State.

According to a report by First Street Foundation, among all counties in New York, Steuben County is ranked number three and listed as ‘severe’ for risk of flooding.

“Unfortunately, the report was not terribly surprising,” said Steuben County Manager, Jack Wheeler.

The report stated 37.8% of residential properties in Steuben County are at risk of water reaching the building and over 1600 miles of roads are at risk of becoming impassable.

“Of the different hazards that we face and are have to plan for… flash flooding and river flooding are always at the top of the list,” said Wheeler.

Towns such as Addison, Woodhull, Jasper, and more went through devastating flooding this summer. The county is trying to build back with stronger infrastructure

“From the latest storms, that’s going to be one of the main focuses that we have… not just repairing what was damaged but also identifying if there were places that need to be reconfigured,” said Wheeler.

But officials also warn that the flooding is going to stop any time soon.

“We all better get used to flooding in the summer… Climate change is here, and it’s getting worse and I don’t see any signs that they are going to stop it,” said Vince Spagnoletti, Steuben County commissioner of public works.

The main advice officials can offer is that residents should be aware, of flooding zones, and if their houses are at risk.

“I can put all the rock in the world, but I can’t keep the water from coming up,” said Spagnoletti.

“A lot of the data we’re seeing; these severe weather events appear to be increasing, so we have to remain more vigilant about it,” said Wheeler.

The strength and supportiveness of the community are what has helped the county through these traumas in the past, and officials say it will be key, in the future.

“The important thing is that we all worked together as a community, we didn’t lash out at each other we worked together… and that actually is an extremely important point for when this happens in the future,” said Spagnoletti.

While direct assistance for homeowners currently remains uncertain, non-profit organizations impacted by Tropical Storm Fred are now eligible to apply for up to two million dollars in loans through the US Small Business Administration. Food kitchens, homeless shelters, museums, libraries, schools, colleges, and community centers can all apply for this support.

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