Rain, storage put Great Sacandaga Lake at high level

The Great Sacandaga Lake is high — more than 13 feet higher than the historic average — but regulato

The Great Sacandaga Lake is high — more than 13 feet higher than the historic average — but regulators said Friday they’re not concerned about a lack of storage capacity.

The level Friday morning was 759.64 feet above sea level while the historic average for the date is 746.43 feet. The Conklingville Dam spillway elevation is 771.

The Hudson River Black River Regulating District operates the lake as a flood-control reservoir to prevent flooding in the Hudson River Valley and to augment the flow of the river during dry periods.

Chief Engineer Rob Foltan said the level is high because the district has been storing water. The snowpack is also wetter than normal thanks to recent rains.

“As of March 3rd to the 5th, which was the last survey, we had about 150 percent of the historic average water content,” Foltan said.

The average water content of the snowpack was 8.37 percent, he said.

Releases are dictated by the flow of the upper Hudson, and those levels have abated to the point where the district can once again release water.

Foltan said maximum release levels will likely be attained by next week although everything is weather-dependent.

“You never know what you’re going to get, but for storing water and providing flood protection, I’m not concerned,” he said.

Meteorologist Tom Wasula, with the National Weather Service in Albany, said the rain and snow will clear out this morning and partly sunny conditions are forecast for the afternoon with highs hitting 40-45 degrees.

“Any wet snow in the valley will probably disappear real quick because it is mid-March,” Wasula said, although elevations at 1,500 feet and higher could see as much as a few inches.

Overnight lows are expected to be in the 20s, and Sunday is supposed to be partly sunny with highs in the upper 30s, he said.

The start of the work week calls for mostly sunny skies and highs in the lower 40s, which is normal for this time of year.

As of Friday, meteorologists had measured 3.99 inches of rain this month, 2.74 inches above normal.

The wettest March on record is 1843, with 7.37 inches. Wasula said the Capital Region is on track for this to be at least one of the top 10 wettest Marches on record. No. 10 — 1919 — stands at 4.83 inches.

Categories: Schenectady County

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