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Chautauqua lake levels rise after heavy rain

Posted at 6:41 PM, Jul 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-19 18:41:39-04

BEMUS POINT, N.Y. (WKBW) — Within minutes, Shore Acres in Bemus Point was flooded out after heavy rains hit the area Saturday.

Nearby Bemus Creek overflowed, and was rushing through the small neighborhood.

“I’ve done most of the cleanup, which was a lot of twigs and seaweed,” said Peter Branch, who has lived on Chautauqua Lake for more than 30 years.

Branch says this past weekend’s flood was one of the worst he’s seen. Now, his wooden dock is partially underwater.

“I thought it was going to float away,” he said.

Down the street, Kery Howard was cleaning water out of his two garages Monday.

“We came a couple inches from having it in the house,” he said of the high water Saturday afternoon.

Howard says Bemus Creek has accumulated a lot of debris and logs over the years.

Chautauqua County Executive P.J. Wendel was out surveying the creek. He says the lake levels right now are extremely high.

“The water has come down, the lake level is slowly going down. It’s a little over 1,309 feet, which is just about at our flood stage so we’re keeping an eye on that.”

With the lake levels so high on Chautauqua Lake, many have had docks break loose, and other debris from the flood make it into the lake. That’s especially dangerous for boaters.

“You have to be a lot more aware of your surroundings,” said Nick Matteo, a sales manager at Smith Boys of Chautauqua. “There’s a lot of floating debris,” he said.

Residents and boat experts say go slow with your boat near docks.