A warning about high water in the wake of recent heavy rains

Local News

NEWFIELD, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The heavy rain we’ve had recently has created unsafe conditions on the water.

“When the flood waters rise, there’s debris in the water,” said Ithaca Fire Department Assistant Chief Tom Basher. “The water temperatures may not be as warm as you think, so hypothermia can set in. In this case it was just the volume of water was too much for somebody and we deal with this quite frequently and moving water is no joke.”

Monday, crews from various agencies responded to a call that two people were swept under the water at the West Branch of Cayuga Inlet in Newfield. The victims did not survive. First responders now with a plea to avoid unsupervised areas.

“It’s uncontrolled so it may be completely calm and safe one day and then we get a large rain storm and it changes the whole dynamic. The waterfalls may look inviting, but you don’t know what’s undeneath them,” Basher said.

Here are some tips if you do venture out:

  • Stay on the trails,
  • Walk, hike and swim with a partner
  • Swim in designated areas with a life guard
  • Let people know where you’re going
  • Know where you are in case you have to call for help

“The loss for the family is so difficult and we just hope people hear our messages,” said Basher.

Even though they train for this, they want you to do what you can to stay safe.

Basher said the Ithaca Fire Department helps communities nearby with water and rope rescues. He said last year the department had about 25. So far this year, he said, there have been about six to eight.

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