City officials are asking Stockade neighborhood residents to evacuate as the worst flooding in a century is expected to hit, damaging property and possibly contaminating the local water supply.
The Mohawk River will crest at about 2:30 p.m. Monday at a height of 235 feet, according to Schenectady Fire Chief Michael Della Rocco.
“This is not a routine flood situation for the Stockade. This is an extraordinary event,” he said at a news conference at the Schenectady Police Department. “We’ve been told this is to be considered a 500-year flood.”
Tropical Storm Irene dumped several inches of rain and felled trees and power lines across the Capital Region.
Now, Schenectady officials are bracing for massive flooding. The river’s crest will exceed the prior height of 229 feet — which occurred in 1914 — according to Acting Mayor Gary McCarthy.
Police officers are going door to door to tell people they should leave. At some point, the evacuations may become mandatory. McCarthy said the city has contracted with the American Red Cross to operate a shelter at the Bureau of Service building on Foster Avenue.
People who have special needs and conditions are asked to call the Schenectady Fire Department at 374-7744.
McCarthy said the water will be up to Front Street and there will also be flooding along Erie Boulevard and to Broadway and the wastewater treatment plant near the Niskayuna town line.
The city’s well fields are in the affected area so the flooding has the potential of contaminating the water supply for Schenectady and surrounding communities, according to McCarthy.
“We are now making preparations to try and maintain our water fields and see what we can do to minimize the impact on our wastewater treatment plant,” he said.
City officials are exploring the possibility of constructing some dams to stop the water flow.