Excessive Rain-Severe (Record Breaking) Flood Event
Late Sunday Afternoon-Wednesday June 25-28, 2006

 
This season, when it rained it poured and the event that spanned from late Sunday afternoon, June 25 through early Tuesday morning, June 27 brought yet another torrential rainfall that lead to localized flooding in the Catskills, especially in Greene County where through the day Monday, June 26 several roads were washed out due to flowing water and mudslides. Flooding was also significant in parts of Washington County where roads were also washed out due to rainfall amounts in excess of three inches. Poor drainage and urban flooding was widespread across much of the remainder of eastern New York closing roads that normally flood during heavy rain such as Western Avenue in front of Stuyvesant Plaza. Basin wide rainfall generally ranged from 2" to 5.5", with most of the rain falling from Monday morning through Monday afternoon, in the Adirondacks, Catskills, Mohawk valley, Capital Region and Rutland County in Vermont. Rainfall amounts generally ranged from 1/2" to an 1.3" in southern Columbia, Dutchess, Berkshire, and Litchfield counties where little if any flooding occurred.

Two key weather players, an upper level low pressure trough, centered over the Midwest, and a strong Bermuda high pressure system with accompanying upper air ridge, centered over the west-central Atlantic, where configured with the right orientation to direct a deeply tropical flow of moisture up the Atlantic seaboard to produce excessive rain for not only eastern New York but for much of the mid-Atlantic and Southeast states. Because of the semi-stationary nature to the two large scale weather features, the tropical moisture feed was able to develop and remain in place for an extended period of time, mainly from late Sunday night through Monday evening, to unleash the tropical downpours. The combination of the deeply layered nature to the tropical air and a strong, but narrow, low to mid level jet, that was forced up the seaboard due to the configuration of the Midwest trough, and west-central Atlantic Bermuda high, caused an almost continuous conveyor belt of torrential rains across the region.

By Monday evening, the solid nature to the rain area changed with several lines of more individual and discrete heavy rain elements, some with thunder and lightning, forming. One such line produced an extra round of heavy rain for the Mohawk Valley, Adirondacks, and Otsego and Delaware counties, accounting for elevated rainfall totals in those areas. Brief gusty winds to 40 and 45 mph were mixed down from the strong low to mid level jet in some of the more discrete rain elements during the evening.

Through the night, rainfall became generally light across the Hudson valley and western New England area ending by Tuesday morning. However, a narrow but heavy zone or rain redeveloped across the Adirondacks, western Mohawk valley, and western Catskills during the pre-dawn and morning hours on Tuesday, June 27 as the Bermuda high exerted a slight west to northwestward shift, causing the zone of rain to enhance, and also shift west. The net result in the Hudson valley and western New England was a tropical, almost Caribbean feeling day on Tuesday with strong gusty winds out of the south, to 25 and 30 mph at times, along with partial sunshine, dry conditions, and dewpoint temperatures in the mid to upper 60s.

In Otsego, Delaware, western Montgomery, western Fulton, Herkimer, and Hamilton counties, however, the narrow zone of rain persisted through the day on Tuesday, June 27 dumping on average an additional 1.5" to 2.5" of water which caused widespread and serious flooding in especially Otsego and Delaware counties. In fact, Otsego County's largest city, Oneonta, Tuesday afternoon was inundated with most downtown roads closed for a time due to flooding. A state of Emergency was declared in Delaware County with a warning to residents not to use the roads.

Photograph: Jonathan Visnosky, WeatherNet 6 Weather Watcher, Oneonta, NY Otsego County: Market Street in Downtown Oneonta at the time of significant flooding, June 27, 2006

 

The table below lists the storm total rainfall amounts observed and reported to CBS6 for the June 25-June 27 excessive rain event. (Note: Additional rainfall that fell during the morning and afternoon on Tuesday, June 27, 2006 in Otsego, Delaware, Fulton, Mongtomery, Herkimer and Hamilton counties are not included in this tally.)


Storm Total Rainfall From the Afternoon and Evening of Sunday June 25 to the
Early Morning (8am) of Tuesday June 27, 2006

Town County Rainfall Report Town County Rainfall Report
Sharon, CT Litchfield 0.17" Pittsfield, MA Berkshire 1.15"
Savoy, MA Berkshire 0.80" Lanesborough, MA Berkshire 1.30"
Alford, MA Berkshire 1.10"

Albany, Airport Albany 2.68" Albany (NWS) Albany 2.52"
Colonie Albany 2.04" Medusa Albany 2.72"
Latham Albany 2.10" Altamont Albany 2.64"
E.Berne Albany 3.50" Menands Albany 4.75"
Westerlo Albany 3.50"      
North Chatham Columbia 2.02" Stuyvesant Falls Columbia 2.65"
Hudson Columbia 4.01" Kinderhook Columbia 1.49"
Margaretville Delaware 2.35" Arkville Delaware 2.40"
Roxbury Delaware 3.00" Poughkeepsie Dutchess 1.44"
Broadalbin Montgomery 2.25" Northville Montgomery 1.93"
Maplecrest Greene 4.46" Haines Falls Greene 5.25"
Elka Park Greene 5.25" Halcott Greene 2.70"
Cairo Greene 1.92"-4.20" Lexington Greene 2.86"
Catskill Greene 2.30" Round Top Greene 5.3"
South Cairo Greene 2.50" Athens Greene 5.50"
Wells Hamilton 5.50" Indian Lake Hamilton 1.08"
Lake Pleasant Hamilton 1.57"      
East Worcester Otsego 1.57" Worcester Otsego 2.40"
Cherry Valley Otsego 1.25"      
Sprout Brook Mongtomery 1.15" Amsterdam Montgomery 1.34"
Hessville Montgomery 1.12" Palatine Bridge Montgomery 1.30"
Speigletown Rensselaer 2.60" Schaghticoke Rensselaer 3.30"
Center Brunswick Rensselaer 1.75" Poestenkill Rensselaer 2.25"
Stephentown Rensselaer 0.25" Taborton Rensselaer 0.70"
Wilton Saratoga 3.47"-3.82" Gansevoort Saratoga 3.65"
Stillwater Saratoga 2.74" Saratoga Springs Saratoga 2.72"
Ballston Spa Saratoga 2.26" Charlton Saratoga 3.26"
Clifton Park Saratoga 3.10" Malta Saratoga 2.06"
Waterford Saratoga 2.86" Greenfield Center Saratoga 4.00"
Duanesburg Schenectady 0.96" Schenectady Schenectady 1.96"-2.61"
Rotterdam Schenectady 2.49" Glenville Schenectady 2.10"
Middleburgh Schoharie 1.62" Huntersland Schoharie 1.48"
Jefferson Schoharie 2.52" Richmondville Schoharie 2.30"
Summit Schoharie 2.08" West Conesville Schoharie 2.00"
Gilboa Schoharie 2.00" Fulton Schoharie 1.50"
Howes Cave Schoharie 1.32"      
West Shokan Ulster 8.04" Kingston Ulster 2.90"-4.27"
Phoenicia Ulster 4.57" Woodstock Ulster 3.45"
Kerhonkson Ulster 4.45" Saugerties Ulster 2.54"
Bolton Landing Warren 3.22" Lake Luzerne Warren 3.70"
Chestertown Warren 2.28" Glens Falls Warren 3.51"
Cossayuna Washington 2.50" Kingsbury Washington 2.09"
Salem Washington 2.15" Fort Edward Washington 2.61"
Granville Washington 2.90" Fort Ann Washington 3.11"
Hudson Falls Washington 2.72" West Rutland, VT Rutland 3.00"
Bennington, VT Bennington 1.17"      

Additional Rainfall from 8:00am to 6pm Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Town County Rainfall Report Town County Rainfall Report
Wells Hamilton 2.50" Blue Mountain Lake Hamilton 0.80"
Speculator Hamilton 1.80" Lake Pleasant Hamilton 1.79"
Sprout Brook Montgomery 1.29"

Schenevus Otsego 2.25" Worcester Otsego 2.10"
East Worcester Otsego 1.09" Margaretville Delaware 0.95"
Arkville Delaware 0.72"      

Widespread Severe/Historic River and Flash Flood Event: Wednesday, June 28, 2006
In some areas of the Mohawk valley and western Catskills (Otsego and Delaware counties), the flooding that occurred during the morning and afternoon of Wednesday, June 28 reached historic levels producing widespread destruction and affecting thousands of people either directly from being run out of their homes or businesses, or somewhat more indirectly through the hundreds of road closures which in some areas completely halted ground transportation. Roads were washed out and shut down in Otsego, Delaware, Schoharie, Fulton, Montgomery, Herkimer, Hamilton, and Greene counties with the Mohawk river flooding the Thruway causing it to be shut down from Rotterdam to Syracuse (exit 25A to Exit 36, except for local, non-commercial traffic) from the late morning on Wednesday through the morning on Thursday. A culvert under I-88 was not able to handle the overflow near Unadilla in Delaware county causing all four lanes of the highway to wash out and collapse before daybreak. The destruction of the highway lead to two fatalities as two separate trucks driving in the east and west bound lanes dropped into the chasm that was once the highway. States of Emergency were declared in Herkimer, Montgomery, Fulton, Otsego, Delaware, Schoharie, and Ulster counties. The flood situation in Delaware County was so severe that all roads were closed in the rural county with nobody in or out with water up to eight feet deep on some of the streets in the town of Walton. In Cobleskill, during the height of the flooding, most of the main roads were closed with Route 7 completely impassable on the east end of town due to a mudslide and South Grand Street completely under water. In Richmondville, Route 7 was closed due to the same mudslide. In Little Falls, Herkimer County many homes were evacuated with Route 5 closed. Evacuations also occurred on Main Street in Dolgeville Herkimer County due to severe flooding. In Greene County, Route 23A in Hunter remained closed from damage due to flooding and mudslides during a flash flood on Monday. Many other roads throughout Greene County closed again with this second round of flooding. Road closures in both Montgomery and Fulton counties were to numerous to track as travel became very difficult through the day.

Record flooding occurred on the Mohawk river at Little Falls in Herkimer County as it crested at 19.72 feet at 1:30pm on the 28th breaking the old record crest of 19.17" set in the March 1977 flood. The Canajoharie creek also crested at the record level of 10.50 feet breaking the old record crest of 8.8 feet set in the November 9, 1996 flood. And flash floods, which began during the pre-dawn hours and continued through the day inundated Canajoharie, parts of St. Johnsville, Fonda-Fultonville, Oneonta for the second time, Johnsonville, parts of Johnstown and Gloversville, sections of Amsterdam, and Schenectady's Stockade district, Little Falls and Ilion, Palatine Bridge, Cobleskill, Warnerville, Oppenheim, Fort Plain, and Catskill, to name but just a few of the local communities that were heavily affected by the rising and rushing waters.

In Schenectady County, flooding swamped Jumpin' Jacks restaurant, as well as much of the Stockade and the Schenectady Community College's parking lots and sports fields. In Fonda, the speedway was completely inundated through the day Wednesday with the power being turned off.

The New York State Canal Corp. was forced to close the Erie Canal from Lock E-2 in Waterford to Lock E-22 in New Longdon/Sylvan, which is an enormous portion of the canal system. The entire Champlain Canal was also closed due to the violently high flowing water. The closure of the canal systems left hundreds of boaters stranded for weeks in some cases until water levels dropped and the swift currents eased and repairs to the system were made. The director of the New York State canal system reported in early October 2006 that the the waterway sustained an enormous twenty million dollars in damage from the flooding.

Damage continued to occur along the major rivers through the day Thursday, June 29 with dock systems on the Hudson and Mohawk rivers failing, releasing million dollar boats down the river. The most spectacular example of this was with the complete destruction of the Albany Yacht club's dock on the Hudson. As the dock broke away, many expensive pleasure craft were sent down the river, eventually to be caught by tug boats which saved most of them.

National Grid reported thousands in especially Fulton and Mongtomery counties without power as several sub-stations had to be de-energized due to the inundation. Power remained out in some communities for days following the flood.

The flooding in the local area was just a part of a much bigger flood that extended along the Susquehanna river through Binghamton and into Pennsylvania. Thousands were evacuated in the Binghamton area with massive evacuations south through much of eastern Pennsylvania along the major rivers such as the Delaware. Severe flooding occurred further south into the mid-Atlantic region as well. The scope of the flood was immense and all caused by a blocked jet stream pattern that produced waves of torrential tropical rains.

Click Here for Table of River Crests

The table below is a listing of some of the flood reports used by the Albany National Weather Service office for verifying the flood warnings that were issued for the Wednesday, June 28, 2006 Event. This list by no means represents the total amount of flooding that occurred as the event was far to widespread for point reports to resolve.

Town County Flood Report Approximate Time of Report
Little Falls Herkimer Route 5 and Route 168 closed due to mudslide and flooding 3:45am
Little Falls Herkimer House moved off its foundation due to debris from the mudslide 3:45am
5 Miles SE of Ilion Herkimer Fulmer Creek flooding trailer park in German Flatts, 12 homes evacuated 3:45am-5:00am
Little Falls Herkimer Major Flood, many homes evacuated 3:45am-5:00am
Palatine Bridge Montgomery Route 5 between Palatine Bridge and Fonda closed due to major flooding 6:00am
Ames Montgomery Widespread flooding, West Ames Road, Old Sharon Road between Route 10 and Latimer and Shunk Road flooded and closed, widespread flooding along the Brimestone Creek 6:00am
Stratford Montgomery Numerous evacuations throughout western Fulton County from Stratford to Dolgeville in Herkimer County, Route 29A flooded and closed in Stratford 6:00am
St. Johnsville Montgomery 15 Homes and 35 people evacuated in St. Johnsville along the flooding Mohawk River 6:00am
Little Falls Herkimer Mohawk River in Major Flood, numerous evacuations on Southern Avenue along the river 6:00am
Dolgeville Herkimer Major Flood along the East Canada Creek, many evacuations along Main Street in the Village of Dolgeville, water up to the bottom of the Route 29 Bridge 6:00am
Charlotteville Schoharie Flood, small bridge flooded out 7:00am
Cobleskill Schoharie Flood, Route 7 in the east end of the village closed due to flooding 7:00am
Fort Plain Montgomery County wide state of emergency, evacuations along Route 80 in Fort Plain due to serious flooding 8:00am
Gilboa Schoharie Mud slide across Stryker Road 8:00am
Warnerville Schoharie Several buildings and roads, including the post office flooded 8:05am
Richmondville Schoharie Mud slide 8:45am
Gilboa Schoharie Keyserkill Creek out of its banks at Campbell Road, closing the road, state of emergency in Schoharie County 8:50am
Ingham Mills Station Herkimer Water spilling over the Kyser Lake DAm, evacuations done downstream in Fort Plain, Little Falls, Mohawk, and Newport, National Grid buildings flooded 9:15am
Broome Center Schoharie Route 145 closed due to flooding 9:42am
Ilion Herkimer Approximately 200 people evacuated from Ilion, Dolgeville, Mohawk, and Frankfort due to severe flooding 10:00am
Dolgeville Herkimer Building washed into and down the East Canada Creek 10:00am
Cobleskill Schoharie Route 10 at the west end of the village closed due to flooding 10:17am
2 Miles West of Indian Lake Hamilton Cedar River and Big Brook out of their banks 10:20am
Willow Ulster Many streams and creeks in full flood 10:23am
Benson Hamilton Flood, Route 30 and Stony Road closed 11:00am
Oppenheim Fulton Flood, many roads closed in Oppenheim and surrounding towns 11:23am
Catskill Greene Flood, several roads closed due to flooding in and around Catskill, Cairo, and Haines Falls 12:15pm

Click Here for a Gallery of Flooding Photographs

In the local area the table was being set for the flood with the excessive rains that began on the 25th. The flow around a Bermuda high pressure system and it's associated upper level ridge, and the upper air low pressure trough over the Midwest, generally remained unchanged after creating the deluges from the 25th through the 26th. The first wave of rainfall falling in an already wet month of June completely saturated the ground and sent most streams and creeks to bankfull The rain that had pushed out of much of eastern New York and western New England on Tuesday, the 27th, due to a brief northwest push of the Bermuda high, moved back into the region during the evening and nighttime hours of the 27th. (In fact the rain in Herkimer, Hamilton, western Fulton, western Montgomery, Otsego and, Delaware counties really never ended) A wild card feature in the form of a weak sub-tropical low pressure system which had formed along the North Carolina coast during the morning of the 27th created much concern as it had associated with it it's own envelope of deep tropical moisture.

During the night of the 27th and morning of the 28th, the Bermuda high weakened, shifting back to the east farther out to sea and releasing it's brief protective grip over eastern New York and western New England. As the high moved out, the Midwest upper air trough began a very slow eastward progression. As the upper air trough moved east, the quasi-stationary band of torrential rains over central NY began shifting east again as well. In the end, the sub-tropical low pressure system, instead of adding to the rainfall situation, actually acted to accelerate the rain band that had been dumping such copious amounts of water on the counties to the west of the Hudson river. The acceleration of the rain area spared the Hudson valley and western New England from a serious flood as well. Rainfall in the Hudson valley and western New England was considerably lighter, ranging from 1/2" to 1.5", as compared to the 2"-4" of additional rain that was dumped in the western area, which of course accounted for the severe flooding in the Adirondacks, Mohawk valley, and Catskills. Figure #1 is the Albany National Weather Service Doppler Radar 24 hour storm total radar estimate of the rainfall for the region, clearly illustrating the zones where the rain band had been moving slowly, vs. when the sub-tropical system arrived Wednesday morning causing the acceleration and subsequent drying out and partial clearing across the entire region during the afternoon.


Figure #1: Albany NEXRAD (ENX) 24 Hour Storm Total Rainfall Estimate from the period Late Tuesday Afternoon on the 27th to Wednesday Afternoon on the 28th.

Storm Total Rainfall From From 6pm Tuesday, June 27 through 6pm Wednesday, June 28, 2006 as Reported by the CBS6 WeatherNet 6 Spotter Group

Town County Rainfall Report Town County Rainfall Report
Lanesborough, MA Berkshire 1.00" Pittsfield, MA Berkshire 0.85"
Savoy, MA Berkshire 1.50" Alford, MA Berkshire 1/2"
Voorheesville Albany 0.82" Cohoes Albany 1/2"
Colonie Albany 0.56" Green Island Albany 1.85"
Potter Hollow Albany 2.33" Albany Albany 0.64"
Ancramdale Columbia 0.83" Taghkanic Columbia 1.18"
Stuyvesant Falls Columbia 1.55" Valatie Columbia 1.50"
Chatham Center Columbia 1.02" North Chatham Columbia 1.02"
Ghent Columbia 0.85" Albany Albany 0.64"
Margaretville Delaware 2.25" Roxbury Delaware 1.80"
Red Hook Dutchess 1.50" Clinton Corners Dutchess 1.61"
Northville Fulton 1.85" Fish House Fulton 0.80"
Gloversville Fulton 3.00"      
Round Top Greene 2.97" Ashland Greene 2.50"
Maplecrest Greene 1.03" Catskill Greene 2.15"
Cairo Greene 2.40"-2.50" Indian Lake Hamilton 1.22"
Wells Hamilton 2.44" Speculator Hamilton 2.35"
Amsterdam Mongtomery 1.22" Sprout Brook Mongtomery 2.30"
Worcester Otsego 3.80"      
Center Brunswick Rensselaer 0.79" Stephentown Rensselaer 1.01"-1.25"
Taborton Rensselaer 1.10" Schaghticoke Rensselaer 1.20"
Stillwater Saratoga 0.59" Clifton Park Saratoga 0.48"
Gansevoort Saratoga 0.70" Corinth Saratoga 1.01"
Ballston Spa Saratoga 0.59" Wilton Saratoga 0.59"
Saratoga Springs Saratoga 0.70" Schenectady Schenectady 0.49"
Delanson Schenectady 1.61"      
Jefferson Schoharie 2.60" Summit Schoharie 3.65"
Fulton Schoharie 1.20" Warnerville Schoharie 2.01"
Saugerties Ulster 2.76"      
Bolton Landing Warren 0.77"      
Cossayuna Washington 0.52" Salem Washington 0.60"
Fort Ann Washington 0.45" Granville Washington 0.35"
Woodford, Mt., VT Bennington 0.77" West Rutland, VT Rutland 0.50"
Danby, VT Rutland 0.80"      

Total Rainfall For the Period Beginning Sunday, June 25 Through Friday, June 30, 2006 as Reported by the CBS6 WeatherNet 6 Spotter Group and Albany National Weather Service Cooperative and Skywarn Observers

Town County Rainfall Report Town County Rainfall Report
Albany (NWS Office) Albany 4.51" Albany (Airport) Albany 4.09"
Colonie Albany 3.34" Westerlo Albany 4.48"
Stuyvesant Columbia 5.27" Livingston Columbia 4.05"
East Chatham Columbia 2.33" Ancramdale Columbia 3.07"
North Chatham Columbia 3.20" Ghent Columbia 2.74"
Stamford Delaware 3.83"      
Red Hook Dutchess 5.55" Rhinebeck Dutchess 4.27"
Poughkeepsie Dutchess 2.71" Clinton Corners Dutchess 1.20"
Gloversville Fulton 5.35" Northville Fulton 4.37" to 4.45"
Broadalbin Fulton 3.82" Caroga Lake Fulton 9.0"
East Jewett Greene 8.30" Catskill Greene 4.43"
Windham Greene 3.14" Earlton Greene 5.29"
Cairo Greene 6.70"      
Lake Pleasant Hamilton 5.59" to 6.79" Indian Lake Hamilton 4.52"
Piseco Hamilton 7.47" Speculator Hamilton 6.20"
Tribes Hill Montgomery 3.78" Sprout Brook Montgomery 4.85"
Hessville Montgomery 7.72" Palatine Bridge Montgomery 4.05"
Buskirk Rensselaer 4.28" Troy Rensselaer 4.12"
East Greenbush Rensselaer 3.62" Center Brunswick Rensselaer 3.71"
Worcester Otsego 8.75" Maryland Otsego 6.21"
Exeter Otsego 9.10"      
Hadley Saratoga 3.42" Clifton Park Saratoga 4.22"-4.38"
Vischer Ferry Saratoga 3.08" Charlton Saratoga 5.08"
Saratoga Springs Saratoga 4.33"      
Delanson Schenectady 3.09" to 3.34" Niskayuna Schenectady 2.14"
Cobleskill Schoharie 3.00" Schoharie Schoharie 2.67"
Fulton Schoharie 3.60" Middleburgh Schoharie 3.22"
Kingston Ulster 7.32" Phoenicia Ulster 7.14"
Woodstock Ulster 6.60" West Shokan Ulster 6.55"-11.27"
Saugerties Ulster 6.31" Rosendale Ulster 5.50"
Bolton Landing Warren 5.47" Glens Falls Warren 4.09" to 4.43"
Warrensburg Warren 3.34" North Creek Warren 5.14"
Kingsbury Washington 2.96" Cossayuna Washington 3.53"
Woodford, VT Bennington 3.18" Landgrove, VT Bennington 5.09"
Bennington, VT Bennington 2.12" Pownal, VT Bennington 2.34"
Alford, MA Berkshire 1.35" Great Barrington, MA Berkshire 2.20"
North Adams, MA Berkshire 2.08" Pittsfield, MA Berkshire 2.29"