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New England Rain Means Rising Rivers

Chrissy Warrilow | TWC
Published: March 12, 2013

With the calendar now saying, March, weather patterns are also beginning to change. And while March tends to "roar in like a lion" through severe thunderstorm outbreaks and crippling blizzards, the month can also feature more benign rain events.

But don't let that fool you - steady rain and rapid snow melt can add up to a threat of serious spring flooding.

Background

Snow Depth Now

Snow Depth Now

Snow Depth Now

Snow Depth Now

Northeast Snowpack

The map at the right shows the current snowpack throughout the Northeast and New England states. As much as a foot of snow remains in the Adirondacks, the Green and White Mountains, and Berkshires.  Lingering snowpack also remains from Winter Storm Saturn over parts of southern New England.  Over two feet of snow is on the ground near Caribou, Maine.

According to the National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center, this snowpack can translate to as much as 1 to 10 inches of liquid water! 

Background

Tuesday's Highs

Tuesday's Highs

Tuesday's Highs

Tuesday's Highs

Quick Warmup, Then Cold Blast

The impressive snowpack will be whittled away this week as warm, moist air is pulled into the region. The thermometer is expected to reached the 50s throughout much of the Northeast, including the I-95 corridor and, possibly, the Champlain Valley.

On Wednesday, a cold front moves into the region and brings 30s to Great Lakes cities including Cleveland, Ohio, Erie, Pa., and Rochester, N.Y.  Highs will still reach the 40s into northern New England, and push the low 50s in coastal areas including New York City, Boston, Mass., and Providence, R.I.

By Thursday, daytime temperatures plummet into the 30s throughout much of the Northeast, while only a few coastal cities barely cling to the low 40s.

Background

Rain Through Wednesday

Rain Through Wednesday

Rain Through Wednesday

Rain Through Wednesday

Heavy Rain on the Way

Warm, moist air will surge into the Northeast on Tuesday ahead of a cold front, with periods of rain ahead of the advancing cold front.  Parts of the New England and the Hudson Valley may pick up over 1 inch of rain is expected through early Wednesday.

As humid air and rain move over areas of dense snowpack, the resulting snowmelt and rainfall may trigger flooding in parts of New England and Upstate New York. 

(MORE: Why Rain Melts Snow Faster Than Sunshine)

Background

Flood Watches

Flood Watches

Flood Watches

Flood Watches

Impacts

Flood watches are already in effect, including much of Massachusetts. Small rivers and streams may swell out of their banks, and some urban areas may experience poor drainage and ponding on roadways.  Any remaining river ice in northern New England is expected to break up, as well, leading to localized ice jams.  

In addition, many roofs will experience additional stress as the rainwater percolates through the snow, adding additional weight to strained structures. Be sure to clear snow accumulations off of roofs, and prepare for flooding conditions resulting from rain and melting snow runoff.

(WeatherReady: Flood Safety and Preparedness)

MORE ON WUNDERGROUND.COM:  Red River Spring Flood Threat

Fargo, N.D. and Moorhead, Minn.

Fargo, N.D. and Moorhead, Minn.

Getty Images

The flooded Red River separates Moorhead, Minnesota (R) from neighboring Fargo March 22, 2010 in Fargo, North Dakota. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

  • Fargo, N.D. and Moorhead, Minn.
  • Fargo, N.D.
  • Argusville, N.D.
  • Grand Forks, N.D.
  • Grand Forks, N.D.
  • Near Fargo, N.D.
  • Moorhead, Minn.
  • Oxbow, N.D.
  • Fargo, N.D.
  • Grand Forks, N.D.
  • Fargo, N.D.
  • Gardner, N.D.
  • Near Fargo, N.D.
  • Fargo, N.D.
  • Near Gardner, N.D.
  • Near Fargo, N.D.
  • Fargo, N.D.
  • Perley, Minn.

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