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Schenectady officials warn of minor flooding

Schenectady officials warn of minor flooding

As river crests, ice remains a wild card
Schenectady officials warn of minor flooding
Huge ice chunks can be seen on the banks of the Mohawk River on Wednesday near Jumpin' Jack's in Scotia.
Photographer: MARC SCHULTZ

SCHENECTADY — Residents in the Stockade neighborhood are being put on alert, as city emergency officials warned of minor flooding on Wednesday.

Water levels rose to within a foot of the flood threshold at Freeman's Bridge on Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service in Albany’s hydrograph. Meteorologist Christina Speciale said the surge could be due to runoff from Tuesday's rainfall, snowmelt and possibly melting ice in the river.

However, the weather service’s forecast predicted the water levels had peaked, meaning the river was expected to recede.

Still, city Assistant Fire Chief Michael Gillespie there could be flooding similar to what happened during Martin Luther King Jr. weekend.

Gillespie said they believe, after consulting with city, county and state emergency management officials, that there could be water that could enter Riverside Park and Ingersoll Avenue. They do not anticipate the floodwaters to go into any homes.

However, the advisory issued by the city on Wednesday did warn residents to prepare for flooding and to be ready to evacuate their homes, if necessary.

“It’s a calculated guess at this point,” Gillespie said. “With the ice and the way it’s situated, it’s hard to predict [what will happen].”

While the National Weather Service isn’t expected to issue any flood advisories, watches or warnings, Speciale said there’s too much uncertainty around ice jams to know what will happen.

“To model ice jams, the science is not there yet,” she said.

Speciale said the National Weather Service will continue to monitor the river in cooperation with city and county emergency management officials, United States Geological Survey engineers and its own meteorologists and hydrologists.

Gillespie said he had four fire department personnel monitoring the river Wednesday. He added that the county Office of Emergency Management officials were monitoring potential flooding throughout the rest of the county.

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