Dozens of homes in the Sylvan Beach area were evacuated Saturday due to flooding off Oneida Lake.

Oneida County 911 records show firefighters were dispatched to the areas of Haskins Road and Waterview Drive in Vienna for flood-related calls and water rescues. Kevin Revere, director of the Oneida County Department of Emergency Services, said the non-mandatory evacuations began as early as 2 a.m.

The flooding in the area was caused by a significant ice jam at Fish Creek where it meets the Erie Canal in Sylvan Beach, Revere said. He said the jam was a byproduct of the quick drop-off to freezing weather from temperatures as high as around 60 degrees Friday.

With colder weather projected to continue Sunday, Revere said the ice only looks to be getting worse.

“Some local residents there describe it as the biggest ice jam they’ve ever seen,” he said. He later added, “Mother nature has dealt us a tough hand in this one.”

Duane Jackson, first assistant chief for the Sylvan Beach Fire Department, estimated roughly 30 homes in the area had been evacuated, he said. Nobody was injured.

At least 20 were evacuated, Revere said. While some found places to go with friends or relatives, others are staying at an emergency reception center out of the Vienna Methodist Church on Route 49.

Staff and volunteers with the Mohawk Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross are operating the center. Red Cross Communications Director Kimmy Venter said evacuated residents were sent to the church prior to the arrival of the Red Cross, during which they were cared for by emergency responders or church staff.

Red Cross staff was in place by around 10 a.m. Venter said about 25 people had checked into the reception center by around 11:30 a.m.

The Red Cross has since provided blankets, refreshments and other supplies, with additional volunteers and resources on standby.

“We’re continuing to encourage people to stay safe and stay off the road if they can,” she said.

Revere said it is likely the shelter will remain in place Saturday night into Sunday since the situation with the ice jam does not look to improve.

Some firefighters, he said, reported water as high as their chests while responding to some of the area homes. Several water rescues were needed, during which Revere said responders had use boats to ferry people from their houses to safety. Revere said more than a dozen pets were also evacuated.

By Saturday afternoon, firefighters were out and about retrieving pets who were not brought during the initial evacuation, as Revere said some residents were unaware the situation would take longer than a few hours.

While the evacuation was not mandatory, Revere said it is strongly suggested, adding that both the Red Cross and the Methodist Church staff have done a “terrific job” caring for those displaced. Individuals who feel they are in danger are encouraged to call 911.

“On top of everything else, that ice could let loose and follow the path of the water … and push heavy pieces of ice into the houses and into vehicles,” he said.

Along with Sylvan Beach, other fire departments assisting at the scene included Oriskany, Vienna, North Bay, Taberg, Wampsville, Durhamville, Constantia, New London, Bridgeport and Cleveland, authorities said.

The Oneida County Department of Emergency Services also coordinated with the state emergency management personnel, the New York State Police, the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office, the Oneida County executive’s office, the state Department of Environmental Conservation, the state Department of Transportation, the state Canal Corporation and local public works crews.

Revere said emergency management personnel are coordinating with the National Weather Service to track the situation. Meanwhile, county and state officials will be on standby at the Vienna firehouse to coordinate any overnight calls as needed.

Further, Revere said the state police and sheriff’s office were both asked to step up patrols in the areas of the evacuated homes as the situation continues.

Contact reporter Greg Mason at 315-792-5074 or follow him on Twitter (@OD_Mason). Reporter Joseph Labernik contributed to this report.