An effort to line New York’s waterways with an advanced flood warning system took another step forward recently with the approval of additional federal funding, according to a joint announcement from Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer, both D-N.Y.
The state wants to construct an $8.5 million Canal Flood Warning System and applied for funding through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.
The system as envisioned would combine data from new precipitation gauges and additional stream gauges with National Weather Service forecast information to provide early warnings when high water is likely.
The system would monitor about 13,000 square miles in the watersheds of the Mohawk, Hudson and Oswego rivers.
FEMA approved a $1 million contribution towards the project in November, and an additional $1.2 million was just obligated, according to the senators.
The United States Geological Survey operated a stream gauge for decades on the Otsquago Creek that runs through Fort Plain.
But, due to funding cuts, it was discontinued in 1989. In 2012, the same creek suffered record flooding and swept away a Fort Plain woman in her home.
Ethel Healey was later found dead in the Mohawk River. Local officials have said just a few minutes’ more warning might have been enough to save her life.
Officials have offered no details on the system being designed, and it remains unclear if the Otsquago Creek will be among the waterways getting new gauges.