Heavy rain forecast late Sunday caused the National Weather Service to post a flood watch for all of Western New York from 4 p.m. Sunday until 1 p.m. Monday, and shortly before 10 p.m. people living on low streets along Canadaway Creek in the Village of Fredonia were told to evacuate "immediately."
The flood alert was issued by Chautauqua County Emergency Management to Fredonia residents on Norton Place and Canadaway Street. The Masonic Lodge at 331 East Main St. was available for anyone needing a place to shelter.
Flooding from the creek also closed part of Route 60 between Fredonia and Cassadaga.
Meteorologist Jon Hitchcock said flood warnings were posted along Cazenovia, Cayuga and Buffalo creeks in Erie County, and for Tonawanda Creek at Attica in Wyoming County.
"They're running high with all the rain we've gotten today," Hitchcock said Sunday afternoon. "They're forecast to go into minor flood."
The National Weather Service flood watch map specifies high water at flood gauges along Cayuga Creek in Lancaster, Cazenovia Creek at Ebenezer and Buffalo Creek at Gardenville.
Hitchcock said a "minor flood" means buildings and major streets won't be affected, but a few side streets could be flooded, along with farmland and parkland. Hitchcock named Cazenovia Park in South Buffalo as an example of a site that could be flooded.
As of 11 p.m. Sunday, 1.99 inches of rain had fallen at Buffalo Niagara International Airport since midnight Sunday. A heavy general rain began between 4 and 5 p.m. and produced more than an inch during the evening.
Hitchcock said the heaviest rain was to fall from Buffalo to the south, but even in Niagara and Orleans counties as much as an inch of rain was predicted.
Hitchcock said the saturated ground from recent rain will trigger runoff from water that can't be absorbed, leading to the flood threat.
Light rain should fall from midnight into Monday morning.
"After this, the rest of the week should be dry," Hitchcock said.
Temperatures are forecast to fall from the 50s through the 40s during Monday, and daily highs are predicted in the mid- to upper 40s from Tuesday through Thursday.
Hitchcock said a cold front is predicted to move through Thursday night or Friday morning, triggering the possibility of some snow showers.
"It doesn't look like anything heavy," Hitchcock said. But Friday's high temperatures will be in the 30s. Saturday looks dry, with highs in the upper 30s to low 40s. Next Sunday, another system could bring rain or wet snow, with high temperatures in the low to mid 40s.