No flooding here--yet


By Patsy Nicosia and Jim Poole

Flooding in the Schoharie Valley and elsewhere might not happen today—or tomorrow.
But it might not be far off, either.
The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center is forecasting heavy precipitation for the weekend on top of all the rain and snow we’ve already had.
“We don’t see much happening before the end of the work week,” said Britt Westergard, senior NWS hydrologist in Albany Monday.
“But it looks like heavy precipitation for all of New York and New England this weekend.”
Ms. Westergard said the Climate Prediction Center forecasts the heavy precipitation moving across the country, settling into a large area from West Virginia to Maine by Saturday.
“This far out, it’s hard to determine if it’s an incredible amount of rain or an incredible amount of snow,” she said.
“It could be either one or somewhere between the two.”
In Schoharie, Emergency Management Director Judy Warner said they’re keeping an eye on things.
“We’re monitoring it,” Ms. Warner said. “I’ve been talking with County Highway and they said the snow is absorbing it. So far.”
According to the NWS, the existing snow pack will actually help absorb some of any rainfall and Ms. Warner said her most immediate concern is flooding from plugged culverts and ditches and ponding on parking lots.
The Gilboa Dam is down 16 feet, she added, with the tunnel open and all three siphons on.
Schoharie County Sheriff Tony Desmond said he, too, is monitoring the melt.
“Right now, there’s no major problems—a little water over Route 10 in Summit—but we’re keeping an eye on things.
“There’s a lot of snow in the hills,” he added. “We got snow Friday and then two more inches on Saturday night and all that added to what was already on the ground.”
Looking ahead, Sheriff Desmond offered two bits of advice:
“Don’t drive through standing water because you may lose control of your car. And if you have a sump pump, make sure it’s working.”
Ms. Warner said the only ice jam she knows of is at Junction Road in Central Bridge and even that seems to be breaking up.
“Right now, I’m optimistic we’ll have a slow melt and no problems—not like ’96 when it got so warm so fast on top of three feet of snow. At worst, we might end up with a high-water event.”