Regional Flood History

EES was established as a result of the 1972 Hurricane Agnes flood, for which there was inadequate warning time to protect lives and property. However, that was far from the first flood to devastate the region—and in places, it was not the worst. The historic record includes dozens of earlier floods, including several called “Pumpkin Floods” because fall flooding washed pumpkins downstream. The “Finger Lakes Flood in 1935 led to construction of many of the region’s flood control levees.

1972 Hurricane Agnes – 21 deaths, $600 Million
1976 Hurricane Eloise – $12 Million

Legislative Hearings – Address the need for improved flood warning

Father’s Day Flooding- Extensive highway damage

1978 Major U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) dams – Reduce flood risks on the Tioga and Chemung Rivers

High water and flood warning evaluation by Susquehanna River Basin Commission – Need faster rainfall detection, faster flood forecast predictions, and more rapid forecast dissemination

NYS Disaster Preparedness Commission formed

1979 Inter-agency Task Force Report on Flood Warning

National Weather Service (NWS) policy – Encourage self-help flood warning

1980 Consensus on need for self-help flood warning organization in Chemung County

Steering Committee formed

MOU (memorandum of understanding) executed

Goals adopted

1981 Corporation formed
1982 Forecast models provided by NWS and NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)
1984 Hornell/Canisteo flood disaster
1985 Computer equipment and gauge system online

Flood Stage Mapping by SRBC and USACE

1986 Intensified training

Benefit/cost analysis by DEC using NWS Models -$4 in benefits fro every $1 spent

1987 Development of Chemical Hazard Information Team (C.H.I.T.)
1988 Reorganization of Corporation

Dedicated Hydrologist position at Binghamton NWS

Completion of DEC Radio Network

1989 C.H.I.T. operational

Hurricane Hugo

Liability Issue – Insurance unavailable because of C.H.I.T. function

1990 Community Rating System (CRS) – Reduced flood insurance costs in participating communities
1991 Re-emphasis on public education and wider adoption of CRS

Summer drought- Need for support services identified

Ice Storm

1992 Hazard Mitigation Grant sought for climate stations

Liability issue resolved (Intergovernmental Agency)

Multi-agency flood exercise – USACE Lead Agency

1993 Blizzard of 1993 Spring Flooding

Radar software acquired for counties

Self development of data acquisition software

1994 Hurricane Beryl – $7-10 Million in New York State
1996 Mild January temperatures brought rain and snowmelt causing many closed roadways and flooding of low areas

Heavy rains cause flash flooding in November

1998 Heavy rains and severe thunderstorms damage many roadways in northern Steuben County, prompting Presidential Disaster Declaration