Thursday, September 30, 2010

Major Flooding Reported

9:45PM UPDATE: The rain in Pennsylvania has still not turned east and is making me very nervous. The rain is as far north as I-80 in Central Pennsylvania. I unfortunately will not be able to update again until after after 12:30am. I will post a quick update at the time though.

The back edge of the rain shield is beginning to move through the Grotonweather tri-county area and will continue to do so over the next hour or so. Rainfall totals are over 3" over most of the area, and radar estimates max out at 4-5" over southern Cortland County. In all honesty though, it appears the radar is under estimating the precipitation, so I would not be surprised if places like Marathon got even more.

As I have been saying, if these rainfall amounts occurred in our area, the ground would not be able to handle it. Unfortunately, that prediction has come true. Here are a couple of the flooding reports I have heard so far, all from Cortland County:
  • Route 11 between Reagen Road and Hoxie Gorge Road is CLOSED due to a mudslide
  • Other mudslides have also been reported
  • In Homer: The Haights Gulf Bridge is out.
  • In McGraw: Roads IMPASSABLE throughout the village
  • Red Cross Shelter for evacuees in the gymnasium at the County Office Building
I have not heard of any flood reports in Tompkins or Cayuga Counties, but that does not mean it is not occurring. I cannot stress enough, never drive through flooded roadways!! There are roads underwater in the area. DO NOT attempt to cross the flood waters. Doing so may put your life in jeopardy. If you are told to evacuate your home, do so!

As I stated at the start, the rain is ending. However, this does not mean the flood threat is ending! Runoff will continue to create flood problems into tomorrow. Area rivers are not expected to reach their peak heights until about this time Friday.

There may be some additional rain tonight. What is left of Tropical Storm Nicole is moving up through North Carolina and Virginia currently. The models have consistently kept this rain off to our east tonight. However, the fact that the models were too far east with today's storm, and the fact that the radar from that region looks very much like it did last night (namely a large area of rain seemingly heading right at us) has me a little nervous. I should stress, though, that we are not in the same sort of set up now, and, thankfully, I do see indications in the upper atmosphere that this rain will turn to our east, as the models indicate. If the models were wrong, which I do not think they are, and we were to get another couple inches of rain tonight, it would be disastrous. Again, I do not think this will be the case.

In summary...the rain may be ending, but the flooding will continue into tomorrow. Stay safe!!!!

Heavy Rain Update: 4PM


Very heavy rain has been falling across the area and will continue to do so for the remainder of the afternoon and into tonight. The regional radar loop is showing the rain tapering a bit to just showers, but not until far Southern Pennsylvania. Even then, there is still some heavy rain...just not as widespread. We very well may only be about half way through this event, and already rainfall totals are getting quite high. Take a look at some of these reports:

Game Farm Road Climate Station, Ithaca: 1.36" through 3PM
Freeville: 1.41" through 3:42 PM
Virgil: 1.54" through 3:42PM
Binghamton Airport: 1.36" through 3PM
Deposit, NY (Deleware County): 2.99" between 7AM-1:22PM

If we double these amounts, most places will be up around 3-4", as expected. There are no flood warnings in the forecast area, but most of the counties to our south, east and north are under flood warnings. Most of these flood warnings are for larger rivers in anticipation of this additional rain. No flash flood warnings are in effect yet.

There are actually some more intense areas of rain and wind within the main area of heavy rain. A severe thunderstorm warning was even issued for Broome County a little while ago! I changed the scaling on the radar program I use to make these areas stick out. The brighter the color, the heavier the rain. The heaviest rain seems to be concentrated over the Finger Lakes, with some of those heavier cells moving through Cayuga and Cortland Counties, as indicated by the dark reds and pinks. It is where these cells hit that the greatest chance for rainfall totals over 4" will occur.

As we go into the evening hours, I am anticipating starting to see some flash flooding problems as we start to approach the upper limits of what the ground and streams can handle. I will get the word out about any Flash Flood Warnings as soon as possible. Remember, NEVER drive through a flooded roadway! If you come to a roadway, turn around. There is no telling just how deep the water is. Just 6" of quick moving water can sweep a car away! It is especially dangerous at night, when it is even harder to see flood waters. Anytime you get rainfall of this magnitude in such a short (about 12-18 hours) time span, the runoff can produce dangerous conditions. Please stay safe tonight, and stay tuned to for the latest! Do not forget to visit the chat room by clicking the "Open Chat" icon to the right. The Chat will be open through the early evening. Furthermore, make sure you tune in for tomorrow's podcast as we talk about this event!

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