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Flooding: WNY's next major weather concern

Posted at 6:33 AM, Nov 21, 2014
and last updated 2015-11-14 06:45:55-05

What happens when Mother Nature and the Lake Effect snow machine dump five feet of snow on an area, and then temperatures warm up to above 50 degrees?

FORECAST | Get the latest here

Communities across Western New York have already received three to five feet of snow Tuesday into Wednesday and some of the same areas received an additional two to three feet when snowstorms returned on Thursday.

On Saturday, those same communities will receive three-quarters of an inch of rain, which will be absorbed by the snow. Temperatures will rise into the high 50s, without returning to freezing overnight, and late Sunday night into Monday, the snow will begin to rapidly release that water.

Flooding is predicted in areas that do not normally see flooding. The National Weather Service does not anticipate giant bodies of water in most places, but due to the snow pack and debris, storm drains, culverts and bridges will likely not function correctly.

Communities where basements frequently flood will likely see flooding, but neighborhoods that normally do not will also likely see flooding. Homes may be surrounded by ponds of water and roadways will experience ponding and drivers can anticipate standing water.

Monday into Tuesday, the creeks will begin to rise, with Tonawanda Creek cresting last. The other creeks will rise first, but officials believe they will only reach minor to moderate flooding stage.

If you are able to safely do so, officials recommend moving items from your basement to higher elevations. Officials remind homeowners to check if their sump pump empties outside of their homes and could possible be blocked by snow. They also remind everyone not to enter a flooded basement as it could be electrically charged.

The state is sending boats, helicopters, high-axle vehicles, sandbags and more to help bolster county resources to combat the flooding danger.

Stay with 7 First Alert Weather for all the latest, both on air and online.