Update Monday morning –

The Newfield schools have been closed Monday morning due to heavily damaged roadways.

Update 5 a.m. —

County officials say early Monday morning that a state of emergency remains in effect in the Tompkins County towns of Newfield and Danby after flash flooding struck the area on Sunday.

The county says that motorists should not make unnecessary travel in southern Tompkins County; several roads remain closed, though Rt. 13 — once blocked to traffic — has recently reopened.

Routes 34 and 96 at Brown Road near the Newfield-Danby Town line is closed because of “severe road damage,” county officials say in a news release. Also avoid the Hurlbut Hollow Road bridge farther down the road in Tioga County and Routes 34 and 96 north or south.

The area by Curtis Road was worst hit in Danby, county officials said. “All town roads, however, have debris, and motorists should proceed with caution,” according to a news release.

Earlier —

NEWFIELD, N.Y. — At least seven families have been forced out of their homes as a trailer park in Newfield was evacuated late Sunday night because of a storm that forced two towns to declare states of emergency.

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Motorists have been urged to avoid all unnecessary travel in southern Tompkins County.

Danby and Newfield have declared states of emergency; videos and photos are surfacing of badly damaged roadways in both Tompkins County and neighboring Schuyler County.

Here’s what we learned about the storm around 11 p.m. from Lee Shurtleff, director of the Tompkins County Emergency of Response, as well as other local officials:

— Evacuations: The Shelter Valley Trailer Park in Newfield was evacuated as a precaution out of fears that the roads around the homes were threatened, according to Shurtleff.

The families have been given temporary lodging and are being helped by the Red Cross, Shurtleff said.

“Rescuers put people in life jackets and carried them to safety on the other side of the washed out road, where Bangs Ambulance personnel and a Newfield School District bus were waiting to take them to a shelter set up at the high school,” a news release said.

Photo from IFD of a water rescue of families Sunday evening in Tompkins County

— ‘Outrageous flooding:’ Local fire departments have been very busy responding to an extensive list of requests for help, says Danby Town Supervisor Ric Dietrich. “We’re seeing massive amounts of rain,” says Dietrich, who declared a state of emergency around 8:30 p.m., in an interview Sunday night.

“We’re possibly looking at more rain coming in … what we’ve had is devastating.” Dietrich added that residents have been pumping basements, trying to clear debris from roadway and that traffic has been diverted in roads throughout town due to the “outrageous flooding.”

“We’re just being overwhelmed,” Dietrich says. “The fire department has been going non-stop; and there’s just all kinds of things, left and right.” A better accounting of the extent of the damage will be available Monday morning, he said.

— Roads closed, damaged: The most recent list of Tompkins County road closures includes the following closures: Route 13 in Ithaca is closed between Home Depot and Route 13A, according to Shurtleff.

Additional local road closures have included Routes 96, 34, Trumbulls Corners Road in Newfield, and Routes 96B, Michigan Hollow Road and Curtis Road in the town of Danby. Other roads are closed as well, according to the Tompkins County 911 Dispatch Center.

“Avoid all unnecessary travel and avoid driving through water, especially if you can not see the ground,” the Newfield Fire Department said in a Facebook post.

— Schools delayed: The Newfield schools are on a two-hour delay to allow highway officials to assess the damage on local roads. “Until they get to daylight, they won’t be able to determine the full scope” of the damage, Shurtleff says.

— More rain? An additional one to two inches could come and create further havoc for the area, according to Shurtleff.

The emergency center is monitoring the weather and receiving periodic updates from the National Weather Service.

Shurtleff said he didn’t think more rain would force officials in other towns to declare additional states of emergency, but could exacerbate the problems faced by Danby and Newfield.

— Impact on Ithaca: The damage in Tompkins County appears to pertain primarily to an area over Newfield and west Danby. Mayor Svante Myrick says that the Ithaca Fire Department has been called to assist. “We are okay in the city so far,” Myrick says.

Neighboring counties: It’s early, but it appears that Schuyler and Tioga counties were hit even worse than Tompkins tonight, according to initial reports.


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Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.