Elmira, NY Flood, May 1946


Flood Waters Cover Elmira Business Area

ELMIRA (AP).----Flood waters six inches deep swept through Elmira's main business district today and Mayor Emory Strachen declared a state of emergency.

The rain-swollen Chemung River rose 18 feet, more than a foot above flood stage, overnight.

Fire Chief Louis Mosher broadcast an appeal for everyone "who can lift a shovel to get out and work."

NO CASUALTIES were reported. Woodrow W. Ott, manager of radio station said, "the city faces imminent disaster and the water is rising so rapidly it's almost unbelievable."

A few minutes earlier, Police Chief Elvin D. Weaver said water had inundated the main thoroughfare of downtown Elmira, Water st., which parallels the river.

Ott said Main and Water sts., the main intersection in the city of 50,000, was under about six inches of water.

He said there was no estimate as to when the flood crest would be reached.

WEAVER CALLED police reserves and said he had doubled the day shift.

He said Wisner Park, in the business district was "not quite under water" but that it was rising in the streets surrounding the plaza.

First reports indicated several communities were isolated or partially isolated by recent rains and that damage may run into thousands of dollars.

Of the two landslides reported, one was two miles west of Owego, Tioga County, and the other along Route 10 near Deposit where the highway was open only for oneway traffic.

FLOOD CONDITIONS threatened Watkins Glen and Montour Falls, both Schuyler County. Glen Creek had risen to flood proportions and store owners in Watkins Glen moved stock to places of safety. Catherine Creek spilled over its banks, inundating Route 14 and partially isolating Montour Falls, where firemen patrolled the streets to help cope with the emergency.

The Allegany River a Olean was 11 feet above normal last night and rising at the rate of a half foot an hour.

NELSON FULLER, superintendent of the Olean Water Department, predicted the river would rise to 16 feet. The city, scene of a flood four years ago which caused $2,000,000 in damage and resulted in two drownings, is protected by a dyke system up to a 21-foot flood stage.

The Olean airport was under water and several planes were moved to high ground.

THE SUSQUEHANNA River overflowed between Binghamton and Elmira and state police said Route 17 connecting the Southern New York cities was impassable.

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