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Flash flooding swamps roads across Western New York

Buffalo police and fire officials performed a number of "swift water recoveries" at underpasses around the city as waters from this morning's heavy rains inundated streets around the region.

Among the most serious known so far involved a car that was nearly fully submerged under a viaduct at Broadway and Greene Street. Three people were pulled from the vehicle by Buffalo firefighters.

Three people were rescued by Buffalo police and fire swift water rescue teams from this viaduct at Broadway and Greene Street. (David F. Kazmierczak/Special to The News)

The fire department responded to more than 20 calls during the height of the flooding, five of which resulted in rescues, according to a Channel 4 reporter.

A number of roads in the region were closed because of flooding, including the eastbound Kensington Expressway at Union Road – a major route to the Buffalo Niagara International Airport.

Route 130 between North Ogden Street and on Route 62, and parts of Walden Avenue were also closed due to flooding.

[Gallery: Flash floods drench Western New York]

Other road closures, according to the Niagara International Transportation Technology Coalition, include:

  • Transit Road (Route 78) from Walden to Broadway in Depew due to flooding
  • Back Creek Road from Rice Hill Road to Mill Street due to flooding in the Town of Boston
  • Cary Road to Cayuga Creek Road because of flooding in the Town of Alden

Some found an opportunity to have fun with Thursday's flooding. A picture sent by Buffalo Lt. Anthony McHugh shows children swimming on Liddell Street in Buffalo.

Flooding on the westbound Thruway near Broadway in Cheektowaga caused heavy delays on the highway, according to the Thruway Authority. Those delays are clearing up.

In one spot in Buffalo, swift water rescue teams fought extreme water pressure against car doors but were able to pull two occupants of the vehicle to safety as the rising waters were about to overtake the top of the vehicle, according to reports. At least one of the victims was being treated by ambulance crews who responded to the scene.

Other incidents were reported at Clinton and Babcock streets, Lathrop Street, Urban Street and Fougeron Street, where rain waters made roads impassable.

More than three times as much rain fell between 9 a.m. and noon today as fell during the first 12 days of this month. The deluge of rainfall – 2.28 inches as of noon – shattered a daily precipitation record that was set in 1956.

Buffalo City Court, 50 Delaware Ave., closed at 1 p.m. due to "building safety issues related to courthouse flooding," according to court officials. Litigants with city court cases scheduled for Thursday should call 716-845-2661 to get information about their new appearance dates. Litigants with cases in other courts in the building will be notified by mail of their future court dates.

Shortly before 11 a.m., Buffalo crews cleared a flooded section of Niagara Street, between Farmer and Austin streets. There was a report of flooding on Hertel Avenue, as well as at Urban and Moselle streets.

Lancaster emergency officials also reported numerous roads were overtaken by water.

Cheektowaga Police reported multiple areas of the town flooded as well as streets in the village of Sloan.

Erie County sheriff's deputies reported flooded areas in Boston, including Boston Cross and Boston State roads.

To make matters worse, a "major equipment failure" felled the radar system for the Buffalo office of the National Weather Service this morning just before the storm hit. The weather service said technicians were working to fix it, but tweeted that it "may be down for several days."

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