April showers bring May flowers. And flash flooding. And potholes.
"Along the lake we seem to have our problems with flooding," said Tina Jones, local American Red Cross emergency services manager. "This is flash flood time."
"Last year we really didn't have any issues with all the warm weather we had, but now is the time of year we really start to prepare."
OBSERVER Photo by Gib Snyder
The National Weather Service issued a flood watch Wednesday that is in effect through Friday. Pictured is Canadaway Creek north of the Chautauqua County Home as it flows under the bridge on Route 5 in the town of Dunkirk.
OBSERVER Photo by Matt Panebianco
The American Red Cross and AAA are warning motorists to stay vigilant now that winter weather has subsided. Potholes become problematic when water seeps into cracks in road surfaces then freezes.
Jones noted volunteers have been taking stock of emergency supplies, as well as preparing the Disaster Action Team. The team already responds to fire and other disasters year-round, she said.
With rain run-off and snow melt, floods can crop up at any time, the Red Cross said in a news release. The nonprofit group noted floods also can impact roads.
"The wet and possibly slushy roads can become hazardous to drivers," the release said. "Drive with caution through common runoff areas. Also, water can mix with oil and grease on the road to create slippery conditions."
The Red Cross encouraged tire inspection and warned of potholes as winter weather subsides. Furthermore, the group encourages motorists to check and restock their emergency car kit - which should include battery-powered radios, flashlights, blankets, bottled water and non-perishable food.
Jones said the spring driving tips fall in line with other Red Cross recommendations.
"I think the Red Cross is fully aware of all dangers, including the road," she said. "We have some great volunteers who are always ready to go."
Also doling out driving suggestions this week was AAA. With snow largely melted in the area, road crews now have a larger battle on their hands: potholes.
AAA last spring said it assisted 17,000 motorists with flat tires, many caused by broken road surfaces when water seeps into cracks and expands when frozen.
"Major winter storms have affected much of the country this season," said Steve Popovich, managing director for east central AAA. "While many motorists' cars have made it through the winter storm season unscathed, they could still fall victim to a pothole left in its aftermath."
AAA recommends routine tire inspection, slowing down and staying aware of puddles, which can hide a pothole. The automotive group also suggests re-aligning tires and recognizing noises and vibrations coming from the vehicle.