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Flooding, mudslides in two N.Y. counties

Two upstate New York counties remained under a state of emergency Friday as officials began cleaning up from a heavy rain that produced flash floods and highway mudslides.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Two upstate New York counties remained under a state of emergency Friday as officials began cleaning up from a heavy rain that produced flash floods and highway mudslides.

Dozens of schools in Broome, Chenango and Delaware counties were closed Friday, many because of impassable local roads. Much of the flooding involved creeks and sewers overflowing.

Sections of Interstate 88 east of Binghamton remained closed after mudslides caused a 20-vehicle crash about 6 p.m. Thursday, leaving several people hurt and one seriously injured, said Broome County spokeswoman Darcy Fauci.

A state of emergency continued Friday in Broome and Delaware counties, although Broome County officials had lifted a general travel restriction. A travel advisory remained in effect in Chenango County.

At the height of the storm, the emergency dispatch office answered 3,000 calls including 750 911 calls, officials said. About 350 homes at least temporarily lost electricity.

Multiple cars were abandoned Thursday night in rapidly rising waters. Emergency personnel had to rescue more than 200 residents from their homes or car roofs.

One man was rescued from flood waters after his car was swept away in the town of Fenton, Fauci said. The man, who officials did not identify, clung to a tree until rescuers arrived.

Some drivers trying to leave downtown Binghamton were stuck in traffic for nearly two hours because of flooded intersections.

Most areas around Binghamton received about 3 1/2 to 4 inches of rain, weather service officials said.

"But it doesn't take much when the ground is already saturated," said Dan Padazona, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

So far this year, the area has received 47 inches of rain.

The current record was set in 1972 when the area got 48.04 inches of rain, said Jim Brewster, meteorologist with the weather service. Records dated back only to 1951.

No more significant rainfall was expected Friday night, Padazona said. The Susquehanna River was expected to crest Friday just above flood stage but not cause any significant problems like it did in early summer.

Broome County was pounded in late June with heavy rains and flooding. During a nearly relentless four-day deluge, the Binghamton area received 7.14 inches of rain, including a record 4 inches in one 24-hour period. During that storm, a culvert failed beneath I-88, ripping the interstate in two and killing two truckers who drove into the chasm.

Elsewhere in the state, Herkimer County also experienced some minor flooding as more than two inches of rain fell and some creeks overflowed, said Hugh Johnson, a meteorologist with the weather service in Albany.

The storm, produced by the same system that caused deadly tornadoes in North Carolina Thursday, grew less potent as it made its way across the state.

The weather service in Binghamton received reports of trees or power lines down in Onondaga, Madison and Oneida Counties. Additional flooding was reported in areas of Chenango, Delaware and Otsego Counties. Most areas had 2 to 2 1/2 inches of rainfall.

Herkimer and Montgomery counties also experienced some high winds, with trees and power lines downed, weather service officials said.