Monday, March 19News That Matters

Preparing for potential flooding along the Mohawk River

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A big warmup is coming this week for the Capital Region and although some may be looking forward to it others are preparing for disaster.

Ice jams in the Mohawk and Hudson rivers give the potential of major flooding.

The city has been filling sandbags for three days now that’s because it’s feared these massive pieces of ice will start to melt.

People who enjoy the Stockade section of Schenectady like Jeffery Hall say they came to look at the ice but didn’t realize it soon could be causing big problems.

“It’s kind of scary but for people who live around here, I’m scared for them but you live in Stockade so you’re used to it.”

Even though flooding isn’t uncommon for the area, precautionary measures are well underway.

“I think Schenectady is actually smart enough to be prepared.”

That means filling sandbags and putting them strategically throughout the city.

“We’re preparing for the worst here.”

Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara says he’s been in contact with multiple agencies and municipalities on how to move forward in case flooding does happen.

“When you see things like this the river can’t flow the water can’t flow like it normally would so you start to see water backed up because the channel is reduced.”

He says in addition to sandbags being out at pump stations and sewage systems, the Red Cross is already prepping shelters in case people need to leave their homes.

“If the county declares an emergency, those shelters will be activated.”

Santabarbara says even with the warm up, the ice jams could get worse if everything ends up freezing over again.

“From the time I’ve been in office, this is the worst ice jam I’ve ever seen.”

And he’s looking for a solution.

“We’ve got to take a look at what we can do to prevent this in the future.”

Santabarbara says Buffalo has an ice jam prevention system. He wants to look at the data there and see if something like that could work here in the Mohawk River.