Local and County emergency management officials are preparing for the worst as milder and wet weather moves into the area late tonight into Friday morning. The National Weather Service is continuing a Flood Watch for all of Western New York -- including Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties. Chautauqua County Emergency Services Director Julius Leone says they had a 3-hour meeting on the situation Tuesday. Flood prone areas include Cattaraugus Creek and Silver Creek. Compared with previous thaws in December and January... Leone says they are dealing with thicker ice this time around. He says that ice may tend to block upstream water more easily... causing more flooding problems. Forecasters are concerned that a cold front that will cross the area early Friday morning may contain some strong thunderstorms. Besides ice jams... runoff from rain falling on frozen ground may also cause drainage flooding.
While the current airline carrier at the Chautauqua County Airport near Jamestown plans to terminate air service there on or around May 15th... county officials are optimistic they'll have a new carrier soon. That from County Executive Vince Horrigan... who says he was formally notified by the U-S Department of Transportation about the plans by Silver Airways -- a regional United Airlines carrier -- to terminate air service out of several Northeast regional airports -- including Jamestown. Horrigan says they've enlisted U-S Senator Charles Schumer's office to help get a new carrier in place. Horrigan says Silver Airways is citing pilot shortages... reduced passenger numbers... and, United Airline's decision to reduce their flights out of Cleveland. That hub serves both the Jamestown and Bradford Airports. Horrigan says he and other county officials are looking at ALL possible options to find a new air carrier for Jamestown. He says once they receive requests for Proposals back... they'll be able to discuss the different "hub" locations... number of flights and other aspects of potential service.
As the Chautauqua County explores it's options... Horrigan is encouraging residents and visitors to continue using the Jamestown Airport. The executive says this is not the first time the county has lost it's air carrier at the airport... as Silver Airlines had only been here the past two years. However... he says continuing use of the current service is important to keeping their passenger numbers up... meaning they'll be able to get their Essential Air Service passenger numbers up. Senator Schumer was in Jamestown recently... saying he was going to push federal regulators to continue the EAS designation for Jamestown. He says a number of cancellations this past year left their average passenger numbers just below 10. The number 10 is important because that's needed to continue in the Essential Air Service. Schumer is seeking a waiver for Jamestown.
A South Dayton man faces a number of charges after he was stopped for allegedly driving over 100 miles an hour... while he was drunk. Cattaraugus County Sheriff's officers say they tried to stop 35 year-old Dale Sandy last Thursday on Route 322 for a traffic violation when he sped off through South Dayton... and, into Chautauqua County. Deputies say speeds eventually reached 101 miles an hour. Sandy was stopped on Route 39 in the town of Hanover. He was arraigned in Persia Town court on charges including speeding over 55 MPH... driving while intoxicated... and, unlawful fleeing of a police officer. Sandy was sent to the Cattaraugus County Jail on one-thousand dollars bail.
For the first time in several years... the Chautauqua County Department of Emergency Services will be holding a Mass Ice Rescue exercise on Chautauqua Lake this weekend. Emergency Services Director Julius Leone says the exercise will take place Saturday in the area of Lakewood Community Park beginning at 8:45 AM. Leone says the simulation will involve a jet plane crashing to the lake after encountering severe icing following take-off from the county Airport near Jamestown. Leone says it'll be a multi-agency drill. Leone says the Lakewood Fire Department will serve as the primary first-responder... with other area fire and law enforcement agencies involved. He says the jet in the drill will break into several parts... and, be partially submerged in about 15 feet of water with 43 passengers on board. Leone says three of the passengers taking part in the drill will be airlifted by the Coast Guard to the airport for treatment. He says our warm-up over the next couple of days will help those practicing cold water rescues because the ice will be somewhat unstable. Leone says the drill will last about four hours.
U.S. Senator Charles Schumer says he's recusing himself from any role Congress plays in Comcast's planned acquisition of Time Warner Cable after learning his brother was one of the lead lawyers behind the $45 billion deal. Federal regulators and lawmakers will scrutinize how the acquisition would affect competition and consumers. The New York Democrat is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee's antitrust subcommittee. Schumer's office said Tuesday he didn't know his brother Robert represented Time Warner in the talks until The American Lawyer reported Friday he was the publication's ``dealmaker of the week.'' When the deal was announced Thursday, Schumer's office said he'd urged Comcast to maintain jobs in New York. Robert Schumer's role in the deal was first reported by the blog littlesis.org, a project of the nonprofit Public Accountability Initiative.