October 21, 2021

Cortland County, neighboring towns hit by floods

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer -- Homes and roadways at the main intersection in Virgil are flooded with water Friday after heavy rain hit the area.

Heavy rain Friday afternoon caused flooding — most heavily in the southern end of Cortland County, Locke and Moravia of Cayuga County and parts of northwestern Cortland County — washing away sections of roads, flooding basements and stranding some residents.

Some residents in the affected area reported rainfall amounts of 2 to 3 inches in an hour, roughly between 4 and 5 p.m.

Small creeks swelled by heavy rains spilled across and eroded the hilly country roads that they had early run alongside or been carried under by culverts.

The worst spots in Cortland were in the southern half of the county, said county Emergency Response Director Scott Roman — Harford, Virgil, Marathon and parts of Cincinnatus. Culverts collapsed, bridges were undercut, basements filled — a host of damage that nobody can assess until the waters recede enough to take a look.

But even the neighbors in Virgil understood it could be worse:

— Owasco Lake at Moravia was well past the minor flood stage and just a quarter-inch from major flooding, 9.5 feet, about 7:15 p.m. It was the second time this month that water inundated the community and officials there had called for mutual aid from Cortland County fire departments. Locke officials called, too.
— Residents in Scott were calling fire departments and dispatch centers seeking sandbags.
— Dryden Elementary School was surrounded by water.

“The problem will be culvert damage and bridge water,” Roman said. “I have a feeling you’ll find some bridges with restricted use.”

See Saturday’s edition of the Cortland Standard for additional coverage.