Water in the backyard
As is often the case the coldest part of winter can be punctuated by a rapid rise in temperature called the ‘January thaw’.
Even though the weekend weather was brought on by a cold front what we are experiencing a very real thaw now which can have more consequences than watching the fuel delivery truck pass by your house. As forecast by the National Weather Service when a flood watch was issued the skyrocketing thermometer has loosened enough of the ice in the Mohawk enough to create an ice jam. When the flow is obstructed at one point the upstream water rises rapidly and spreads out resulting in flooding. The watch was upgraded to a warning Sunday night as the river rose. How do we know?
Remote sensing equipment along the river can alert us to these conditions and that is exactly what happened Sunday night when the Freemans Bridge sensor signaled nearly a ten foot rise in river height in less than six hours Sunday evening. This information is available online courtesy of the USGSwhich provides a graph of the river levels as well as a live webcam from several locations.
Is it a serious threat? The data provided in graph form suggests that the jam was a temporary one and the river level at Lock 8 dropped almost as quickly as it rose but the prudent observer will use the information and remain aware of the situation until the warning is cancelled.
A subscription for real time alerts is available for email or mobile devices - a good tool to have in your arsenal of preparedness items.