Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Flooding Starting To Recede, But Still A Mess This Morning

Except in the lower reaches of the rivers and in Lake Champlain, water is beginning to recede this morning following a pretty nasty spring flood, but a lot of roads remain closed in New York, New Hampshire and especially Vermont this morning.
This motorist steered around a
"road closed" sign in Enosburg,
Vermont Tuesday and started
to drive across flooded Boston Post
Road, then thought the better of it
and backed out. Good thing.  

The level of flooding, which closed dozens of roads, had been expected for days, enabling people to prepare for it, but there's only so much you can do.

Worse, the abrupt turn to winter has turned the roads not affected by flooding into a slow mess for this morning's commute. Between the detours around high water and the ice, expect it to take awhile to get to work.

The flooding reached beyond the minor catagory into the level of moderate and even major, according to the National Weather Service in South Burlington. Water crept into towns like Jeffersonville and Cambridge along the Lamoille River, for instance.

There were warnings in Montpelier, Vermont yesterday for businesses to remove items from basements, and the city closed some parking lots that were endangered by flooding. However, Winooski River water didn't get as high in Montpelier as first feared.

I'm sure there have been some houses and businesses damaged by at least basement flooding elsewhere in Vermont, New York and New Hampshire

Most of the roads that are closed by high water this morning are in the Champlain Valley, in the lower reaches of the rivers where the crest is heading to Lake Champlain.

And now there's a flood warning for Lake Champlain, as all that water flows into the lake. Early Wednesday morning, the lake water level was 99.6 feet above sea level and rising fast. It should go above the flood stage of 100 feet later today.  

Lake Champlain flooding lasts a long time, and the lake water will continue rising for the rest of the week.  Forecasts indicate the lake could reach 100.7 feet by Friday. If it gets windy, battering waves could start to cause damage to roads, camps and houses when the lake gets that high.
Water from the flooding Lamoille River surrounds
 a house in Cambridge, Vermont on Tuesday.  

The lake level should start falling again next week unless we get a pretty decent amount of rain.

Speaking of a decent amount of rain, that was true yesterday. Most of northern New York, Vermont and a good chunk of New Hampshire and Maine got between one and two inches of rain.

Burlington, Vermont got 1.67 inches of rain, breaking the record rainfall for the date of 1.41 set in 1942.

St. Johnsbury, Vermont also had a record rainfall for the date of 1.63 inches.

The snow is yet another issue. Burlington, Vermont got 2.6 inches of snow later yesterday, and there's 3.5 inches of new snow outside my door in St. Albans, Vermont. Such mid-April snowstorms are somewhat rare in the North Country but certainly not unheard of.

The amount of snow that fell in Burlington was not even a record for the date. And on April 17, 1983, Burlington got 11.3 inches of snow. So the white landscape this morning is disheartening for fans of spring, but not that out of the ordinary.

Temperatures early today are in the teens and low 20s, so yes, the roads are icy.
Water from the flooding Lamoille River surges
across Route 15 in Cambridge, Vermont on Tuesday.  

The good news in all this is, aside from Lake Champlain, the flooding will gradually end today. And this winter like cold wave will last only 24 hours or so before spring returns.

True, it will only get into the mid 30s today and temperatures will fall to near record teens tonight.

However, starting Thursday afternoon and continuing through the weekend and on into early next week, normal spring temperatures in the 50s and low 60s.

And although more rain is in the forecast over the weekend it looks like it will come in the form of scattered, rather light showers, and not be enough to set off more flooding.

You can start enjoying spring again soon. Bring it on!

1 comment:

  1. Sobering, really. The damage and impact of all the flooding can be really expansive, and just about creep into every area and crevice of our homes. It should be our priority to watch out for these things, and to take contingencies to waterproof basements or set up drainage. That, or countermand these flood-related problems soon as they hit our houses ASAP with proper restoration steps and procedures.

    Gail Wallace