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Flooding along Owego Creek left pets trapped, families evacuated on Christmas

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OWEGO (WBNG) - Waking up Christmas morning, some people who live in Owego were surprised with rising floodwaters surrounding their homes.

Heavy rains and snowmelt brought flooding to Owego Creek, trapping pets and leaving families to evacuate their homes on Christmas morning. Others stayed put even as water surrounded their homes.

Garret Stocks, 18, woke up to the sound of rushing water along Owego Creek at 2 a.m. By 7 a.m., water had risen a foot on all sides of his home.

Stocks and his family got out but had to leave their four pets, 2 dogs and 2 cats, behind.

When 12 News spoke with Stocks around 2 p.m. on Christmas day, the water had risen another 2 feet. Stocks and his family looked on from Route 96, which had been shut down due to flooding on the roadway.

Stocks was most concerned about his pets.

"We're all concerned, we want to walk down in there but it's just too cold, too fast, we can't really get in there."

Stocks said they were counting on the creek receding earlier than expected. If it didn't, they said they were ready to try and save their pets.

They had left extra food and water in their home for them, Stocks said.

While they did not request help from the fire department, Chief Jim Morris did tell 12 News that they would be able to help safely remove pets from the home should the homeowners ask.

Further down Route 96 near Owego Soft Serve, multiple homes, as well as a pet grooming business, were surrounded by rushing water. Businesses impacted by the flooding included the Tioga United Way, Jackpot Richie's, E.E. Root, and Petey and Butternut's Doggy Day Care. Owego Soft Serve was not impacted as of 1 p.m. Friday.

Kaili Hulbert said her family, and the 8 total people inside her home, were staying put for the moment. Their entire home was destroyed by the 2011 flood. Their current home is just a few hundred feet from where the old one stood.

They were not all too concerned with Friday's storm, but the family side if the water did get much higher they would get out themselves.

They spent Christmas morning moving their belongings to the second floor of their home. They only spent a few minutes opening Christmas presents, Hulbert said.

Ricky Sayer

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