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AS SNOW GOES, WATER COMES IN GREATER VOLUME
TONAWANDA CREEK REMAINS FLOOD THREAT

52-60-68-50-44-36-46.

Lucky lottery numbers? Far from it.

That combination of the week's daily high temperatures produced predictable effects Monday on some area creeks and streams as well as on structures and roadways across Western New York.

Last week's unseasonably warm temperatures quickly melted the winter snow pack; then, over the weekend, nearly 8 inches of heavy wet snow slammed the area. Now, all that water has to go somewhere, meteorologists say.

"It's just way too much water," said Bob Hamilton, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

Flood warnings remained in effect Monday evening for portions of Tonawanda Creek and Oatka Creek in the Genesee Valley.

In Clarence, officials warned residents along Tonawanda Creek's S-curves near Rapids that this spring's flooding could be worse than usual. At sundown Monday, the creek was 6 inches above its 12-foot banks and was expected to crest at 13 feet, 1 inch this morning.

"What it means in plain terms is that it will be one of the more serious crests in the past five years," said David Bissonette, Clarence's disaster coordinator.

No residents were formally evacuated from their homes, but Bissonette said people in the surrounding areas were encouraged to move items and personal effects that often are exposed to flood waters to higher ground or a different property.

Strickler and Goodrich roads were expected to remain closed north of County Road at least into Wednesday, he said.

The weather service projected the creek probably would not drop below flood stage until late Wednesday or Thursday. Feeder streams in northern Clarence and North Amherst also were expected to run high through the middle of the week with daytime temperatures exceeding 50 degrees the rest of the week.

"All the snow will be gone within 36 hours," Hamilton said, explaining that the melt will add another 1 to 3 inches of liquid to some surfaces. "To have this much liquid on the ground is highly unusual."

Authorities in other parts of Western New York, from Niagara County to the Pennsylvania line, as well as portions of Southern Ontario also were dealing with a lot of extra water.

The inflatable roof over the indoor driving range at Hyde Park Golf Course in Niagara Falls collapsed Monday morning, injuring a golf instructor who was inside.

The huge vinyl dome at 4333 Porter Road was brought down at 10:25 a.m. by the weight of snow on the roof, according to Niagara Falls firefighters.

Also, two tents were destroyed by heavy snows and strong winds Sunday at the Hawk Creek Wildlife Center in the Town of Aurora, damaging raptor housing boxes and signs, officials said. Damage was put at $1,000.

Includes reporting by News Niagara Bureau.
e-mail: tpignataro@buffnews.com

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