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Bracing for flooding following the storm

By JOLEEN FERRIS

POLAND and MIDDLEVILLE, N.Y. (WKTV) - People living off of Route 28 near the Poland/Deerfield border are bracing for flooding they hope won't be on par with what they experienced in June 2006.

Heavy rain and hail on Tuesday forced the West Canada Creek over its banks and into the West Canada Creek Campsites. The campsite's in-ground pool is completely under water following the storms.

The West Canada Creek has pooled in the middle of the campgrounds, threatening campers and trailers, which caused seasonal residents to spend the night and morning moving to higher ground.

Most residents got only a few hours sleep Tuesday into Wednesday, and State Department of Transportation officials tell them the worst is likely yet to come -that the creek has not yet crested and could rise four to five feet by the end of the day. The water is at the door of several camps and campers.

"It's getting progressively worse, yes," says seasonal resident Julia Yerina. "Last night when we got here it was just going through this little valley that goes by the swingsets and it goes through there and back out to the river. Now it's on top of the lawns, and across our driveways."

The West Canada's waters are touching the bottom of the Route 28 bridge in Poland; normally, there's about an eight-foot gap between the water and the bridge. The bridge was closed Wednesday morning and afternoon.

This is a familiar scenario for people at the campsite. In June of 2006, they were wading in waist-high water following severe, early-summer flooding.

Officials with the State Department of Transportation say nightfall could bring more problems.

"I know right now the projected forecast is it's supposed to rise another four inches. They're expecting it to crest around 8 or 9 this evening at this location," says D.O.T. Engineer Michael Pawloski.

It was a similar scene in Middleville, as the West Canada Creek had yet to crest. Residents were doing everything they could to protect their homes from water, including Dawn Sweeney, who has lived along the creek her entire life.

She called 911 Wednesday morning and within minutes, the fire department and her neighbors were at her doorstep piling sandbags.

"This has happened...I don't know how many years," Sweeney said. "I think because the bed of the river has gotten high with all the rocks and things, it comes up faster now. I don't know if this will affect that. We're doing the best we can."

The state DOT says they expect the West Canada Creek to crest about 8 p.m. Wednesday night.

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