LOCKPORT, N.Y. (WIVB) - The driving ban in Lockport has been lifted and Niagara Falls Boulevard near the Boulevard Mall in Amherst reopened after heavy rains created traffic havoc Friday afternoon.
It was a bizarre site to see a normally busy intersection filled with water instead of traffic after police were forced to close the roadway. But the flooding in Amherst paled in comparison to the City of Lockport, where roads turned to rivers and more than 200 residents are bailing out flooded basements and the mayor called for a driving ban.
PHOTO GALLERY | See photos of the flooding in Amherst and Lockport
As News 4's Bryan Shaw pointed out, it only takes six inches of water to sweep away a person, and one- to two-feet of water to sweep away a car. The motto is: "Turn around, don't drown."
The Niagara County Golf Course was almost completely underwater. Roads flooded, as the Lock City was inundated with rainfall.
Robert Serveiss said, "I had to slow down almost to 10 miles an hour, just to try to get home."
"Scary. I've been through hurricanes, and this is worse than a hurricane," added Jody Serveiss.
Fearful of cars being carried away, Lockport Mayor Michael Tucker ordered a driving ban throughout the city. Rushing water stripped the asphalt off some roads; a half-dozen manhole covers simply blew off. Lockport's wastewater treatment plant was strained beyond its limit.
"[The plant handles] seven million gallons of water on an average day. Today... we topped the 92-million gallon mark," Tucker said.
It could not have come at a worse time for the landmark Wide Waters Drive-In. Instead of ramping up for the summer season, owner Martin Oliveri is trying to salvage what he can, and clean up water damage.
"Everything's being held up, unfortunately, by the weather. We'll continue. We'll come back stronger. We're resilient," Oliveri said.
And the Niagara Auto Swap Meet and Car Show at the Niagara County Fairgrounds was also a casualty of the rain. The event was slated to run Saturday and Sunday, but it has been canceled.
All of Lockport's volunteer fire companies are on call. Mayor Tucker says they have a long night ahead of them, helping to pump out people's flooded basements.
"If you have a medical condition, and your house is underwater, certainly that's higher priority. So we're prioritizing those, but at the end of the day, we'll be at everybody's house who calls," Tucker assured.
If you live in Lockport and need help with water in your basement, you should call Lockport Police at 433-7700. They are handling dispatching and can make sure someone gets out to help you.
Niagara Falls Boulevard in Amherst has been re-opened, but the driving ban remains in place for the City of Lockport. Additionally, the Niagara County Sheriff's Office reports Lincoln Avenue between Beattie and Davison is impassible and all of the streets near the water treatment plant are flooded. Do not attempt to go down any street with deep, standing water.
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