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State of Emergency declared in Ithaca

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: State of Emergency declared in Ithaca
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The mayor declares a State of Emergency in the City of Ithaca after crews battle ice jams and flooding for two days. Tamara Lindstrom tells us what this means for the city, and how officials are dealing with the frozen mess.

ITHACA, N.Y. -- The sun shining on Cascadilla Creek Tuesday morning brought little relief to the frozen waterway.

"Cascadilla Creek is still iced in," said Ithaca Fire Chief Tom Parsons. "We have some ice dams that have built up. Our DPW crews have been down there trying to break it up, but the ice and the cold is pretty dense and pretty solidifying, so it's been very difficult to break things down."

The trouble began Monday when freezing temperatures stopped melting runoff in its tracks.
A major ice jam near Route 13 forced water to back up into the streets, flooding basements and making roads impassable.

And then, the temperature plummeted again.

"A lot of it did freeze up, but it actually made it easier to clean up because the DPW were able to come in and instead of plowing water, they were plowing slush," Parsons said. "And they were able to clear the streets."

Several city, county and state agencies have set up a command center to address the backlog of ice and water. And by Tuesday evening, Mayor Svante Myrick declared a State of Emergency.

"When we do that, it's a local state of emergency," Parsons said. "It doesn't affect travel or anything else. We have a problem that we need assistance with. This allows us to access the county and the state, and if needed we can go to higher levels of government to get additional resources to come and help us with solving our problem."

The chief says the flooding is under control, but the city is preparing for a major warm-up later this week that could lead to further flooding.

All DPW crews are working on alleviating the ice jams.

The Fire and Police Departments have called in extra staff to help with road closures and pumping out basements.

A portion of First Street remains closed, and parking is prohibited on parts of Adams Street, Madison Street and Willow Avenue.

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