CAMPBELL - A mandatory evacuation and state of emergency were issued for the hamlet of Campbell Friday afternoon after major flooding spread throughout the Campbell area due to a “very significant “ ice jam in the Cohocton River nearby.
Residents were asked to leave their homes immediately and seek shelter at the Campbell-Savona Elementary School in Savona.
The state of emergency is effective until further notice.
Campbell-Savona High School closed early Friday and also began evacuating students to Savona.
“The school issued an early dismissal because of (the flooding),” Steuben County Sheriff Jim Allard said.
Local, county and state agencies were on scene for traffic control and to assist residents with evacuation. They remain in the area diverting traffic and monitoring the situation.
Other than for extreme circumstances, county officials said vehicular traffic generally isn’t allowed in or out of Campbell until further notice.
County officials said the ice jam originated in Campbell, which led to flooding on Route 333 leading into downtown Campbell by Campbell-Savona High School, and also across the river onto Tannery Road, as of Friday afternoon. A number of nearby streets and properties were also flooded.
Steuben County Manager Jack Wheeler estimated the ice jam is roughly a quarter-mile long.
“It’s significant. Probably the worst jam we’ve seen in this area in a couple of decades,” he said.
Right now it is unclear how crews are going to clear the ice jam, with temperatures expected to drop significantly over the coming days.
“It’s such a huge block, we’re trying to figure that out right now,” Wheeler said.
Ice jams can be cleared using conventional means such as excavators to break up the ice, or they can be broken apart with explosives in a controlled demolition.
County officials said the Campbell Fire Department, Town of Campbell, Steuben County Emergency Management, Steuben County Sheriff’s Department and New York State Police are on scene.
The state of emergency was issued specifically for the hamlet of Campbell, officials said. As of Friday afternoon, the Town of Campbell is not under a state of emergency.
Officials with the Campbell-Savona School District and Town of Campbell could not be reached for comment Friday.
Updates on the situation as they become available will be posted on the Steuben County Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/1.SteubenCountyNY/.