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WET, THEN WILD <br> A STORM THAT DUMPED 3 INCHES OF RAIN BROUGHT FLOODING, ESPECIALLY IN THE SOUTHTOWNS, WHERE RESIDENTS KEPT WATCH OVER THREATENING CREEKS

There's a chance rain showers will ruin your outdoor plans today, but it would be nothing like the record amount of rainfall dumped across the Buffalo region Saturday.

Western New York was soaked with 1 1/2 to 3 inches of rain between Friday night and Saturday, with the heaviest concentration sweeping through the Southtowns, said Patrick O'Hara, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

Orchard Park, Eden, East Aurora, Elma, Wales, West Seneca and Hamburg were among the areas that were drenched.

Flooding even forced Blasdell Mayor Ernest Jewett to declare a state of emergency in the village, which was continue into early today. The flooding knocked out the sewage-treatment plant and as much as 4 feet of water covered some roads.

Some road closures also remain in effect, according to Jewett: Jeffrey Boulevard remained closed, as well as Lake Avenue between the two sets of railroad tracks. Part of Maple Avenue also remained closed.

The sewer system has been cleared of excess water, Jewett said, and in the morning cleanup and damage assessment will resume.

"Everybody I talked to that's worked for the village over quite a few years has never seen it like this," Jewett said.

Said O'Hara: "We did have an unofficial recording of 5 inches in Hamburg from a backyard weather station."

To put that into perspective, the Buffalo area averages 3 1/2 inches of rain during the entire month of September, O'Hara said.

Saturday's hard-driving rain caused mayhem throughout the Southtowns, washing out roads, flooding basements and swelling creeks to precarious levels, local police agencies said.

Late Saturday night, flood warnings issued for Buffalo, Cayuga and Cazenovia creeks were lifted. Scattered showers predicted overnight were expected to drop about a third of an inch of rain.

But on Saturday afternoon, all eyes were on the fast-moving, fast-rising Cazenovia Creek, which already was 2 feet over flood stage.

The creek nearly was spilling over onto the grounds behind Seneca Ridge Center plaza on Ridge Road and Seneca Street in West Seneca.

The water also was gradually taking over the back yard of Barbara Watkins, who lives on the banks of Cazenovia Creek in West Seneca.

"This is normal, but not at this time of year," said Watkins, who lives on Seneca Street, near Main Street. "It does get a little nerve-wracking, though. There have been a lot of big logs floating down (the creek) today."

Part of Fisher Road in West Seneca, near Orchard Park Road, remained barricaded Saturday night because of water in the roadway, town police said.

Joseph Montione, of Maple Street in East Aurora, was having his own problems.

"Right now, my whole back yard is flooded. There is two feet of water in some spots," said Montione, who blames the neighborhood flooding on construction occurring around his property. "I'm about to get my aluminum boat out and float it."

Nearby in Elma, the Jamison Road Volunteer Fire Company was redirecting traffic on Jamison Road, between Maple Street and Girdle Road. The road running beneath the railroad bridge on Jamison was flooded with about 5 feet of water, said Fire Chief Daryl Nolan.

"The drainage inlets are plugged," Nolan said at the scene at about 2:30 p.m. "The county is down there now trying to clear it."

It was, in fact, the rainiest Sept. 23 ever recorded in Buffalo, with 1.27 inches falling by noon at the weather service station near Buffalo Niagara International Airport,O'Hara said.

The previous record, set Sept. 23, 1909, was .99 inch, O'Hara said.

News Staff Reporter Janice L. Habuda contributed to this report.

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