SUNSET BAY, NY (WNY News Now) — A mandatory evacuation order has been issued for some shoreline communities along Lake Erie in northern Chautauqua County.
Chautauqua County Executive PJ Wendel and County Sheriff James Quattrone issued the order, as well as a local state of emergency for communities north of Route 5, around 12:30 p.m. on Friday as a major blizzard engulfes the region.
“This winter storm with blizzard conditions combined with lakeshore flooding creates an exceptionally dangerous situation for many of our residents,” said Sheriff Quattrone said in a statement. “If residents must travel, we urge them to please use extreme caution.”
The evacuation order is for the Towns of Hanover and Sheridan, including Hanford Bay and Sunset Bay. This would include all lakefront areas north of the railroad tracks due to rapidly rising waters from Lake Erie.
Within the Village of Silver Creek, a mandatory evacuation is in effect for properties along the Lake Erie shoreline only. In addition, the City of Dunkirk and the Towns of Dunkirk, Pomfret, Portland, Ripley and Westfield any residents who live directly along the Lake Erie shoreline in low lying areas are strongly urged to evacuate.
“With this winter storm, we are seeing high winds and rapidly rising water levels,” said Wendel. “This could cause extensive lakeshore flooding, the potential for seiches (waves) that could be as high as 24 feet, and damage especially to those communities who are susceptible to flooding or homeowners who have property directly on the Lake Erie shoreline.”
For those displaced by the evacuation order, the Silver Creek High School on 1 Dickinson St. in Silver Creek, N.Y. will be opened at 11 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 23 as a emergency shelter.