BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)–Erie County Sheriff Timothy Howard is warning the public about area waterways and gorges.
He’s urging everyone to avoid kayaking, canoeing, and other water activities in the area’s creeks and rivers over the next three days.
The amount of rain predicted to fall throughout the area could lead to water levels rising rapidly, creating dangerous and possibly deadly conditions, according to Howard.
Water levels in Cattaraugus Creek, especially within the Zoar Valley region, can reach as high as six feet above normal.
Howard says the depth of the water combined with the volume can create treacherous conditions that will not allow for rapid rescue responses.
The water temperature will remain dangerously cold and speed up the possibility of hypothermia once someone gets wet.
Individuals are being asked to stay away from valley edges and cliff rims because heavy rains and the thawing ground will soften and loosen the soil increasing the likelihood of collapse and ground slides.