Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Flood Watches Now Up In Vermont, Much Of The Rest Of The Northeast

Floodwaters rush across Route 15 in Cambridge, Vermont
during spring flooding in April, 2014. I expect similar
scenes in Vermont later this week. 
As expected, flood watches are flying now for Thursday into Saturday in much of the Northeast, including Vermont.

The culprits are melting snow and a wet, windy storm that's due here Tuesday.

The storm is likely to cause a nasty tornado and severe thunderstorm outbreak in the southeastern United States Wednesday, as I mentioned this morning. 

The storm will consolidate into a large system which will bring lots of moisture in off the Atlantic Ocean into the Northeast.

The flood watches cover most of Vermont, most of the eastern half of New York, pretty much all of southern New England, southern New Hampshire and parts of northern New Jersey.

In places like New York City and far southern New England, the problem won't be melting snow as much as the downpours that will be coming down.

Here in Vermont, the flood watch covers the entire state except the Northeast Kingdom and Grand Isle County. The rain won't be as heavy around here as it will be closer to the coast, but it will combine with snow melt to raise river levels.

It doesn't help that it rained today and the snow has been melting, so rivers are already running high. Even though we'll probably only get an inch or so of rain, that precipitation, combined with melting snow and those already high rivers, will almost certainly result in flooding.
Spring flooding in Cambridge, Vermont in April, 2014.
Similar floods are likely later this week.

The Northeast Kingdom will probably have a little less rain than the rest of the state during the upcoming storm, but I still wonder if the flood watch might be extended to that part of the state by Friday.

In Grand Isle County, there is, of course, no major rivers to flood. And there's much less snow there to melt than in most other parts of the Green Mountain State.  

Still, even in Grand Isle County, I'm sure there will be some wet basements and some brooks that go out of their banks a bit

For the rest of us, the flooding threat will start with small brooks and streams Thursday as an intial slug of rain blows through.  Low spots on area roads will probably flood, too.

As we go into Thursday night and Friday, the bigger rivers across the North Country will probably start to see some flooding.

The National Weather Service in South Burlington says the rivers most likely to go over their banks Friday are the Ausable in New York and in Vermont, the Winooski and Mad rivers, plus the Otter Creek.

At the very least, I expect some of the traditional flood spots in Vermont to go under water by Friday, including low lying roads like Route 73 in southern Addison County, North Williston Road between Williston and Essex, the "Wrong Way Bridge" area in Cambridge, and Route 125 in Westford.

Beyond that, for those pining for spring, it's beginning to look like temperatures might make it into the 60s, possibly near 70 in Vermont toward the beginning or middle of next week.

Bring the spring greening on!

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