Tuesday - Thursday February 23-25, 2016
Wintry Mix – Torrential Thunderstorm Event – Widespread Minor Flooding


Tuesday Evening-Early Wednesday morning (23rd-24th) – Light Wintry MIx
Eastern New York and western New England came under the influence of two areas of low pressure from Tuesday evening February 24 through Thursday February 25, 2016. The lead surface low was weak passing well south of Long Island through Wednesday morning.  An overrunning pattern of warmer air being forced north aloft over cold air trapped near the surface caused snow to develop late in the afternoon across southern Dutchess and Litchfield counties, where 2” to locally 3” accumulated by midnight.  The snow, however, was slow to lift north across the remainder of the region as dry air effectively prevented much from reaching the ground through the early evening.  Ultimately, as the moisture increased, patchy areas of snow broke out after 7-8pm in and around the Capital Region with that snow becoming more widespread after 10pm, continuing through the pre-dawn hours on the 25th when it mixed with sleet and freezing rain as warmer air aloft moved into the region over surface temperatures ranging from the upper 20s to lower 30s.  A brief period of very large wet snowflakes fell in many areas just prior to the switch to sleet between midnight and 3am. Combined snow and sleet accumulations were minor generally ranging from a coating to 1” through 7am on the 24th.

Wednesday (24th) – Cold – Damp – Foggy – Elevation Icing
Low level cold air remained trapped at ground level across most of the region through the day with sub freezing temperatures in pockets throughout the Adirondacks, southern Vermont, and northern Berkshire County into the evening.  A steady 32° on top of the mountain in Savoy, MA through 8pm allowed icing to occur all day there resulting in a heavy ice accretion of over 1/2"

Savoy, MA, Berkshire County - Wednesday February 24, 2016: WeatherNet 6 spotter Daniel Hartwig Jr.

Heavy icing on in Savoy, MA at an elevation of 2000', Wednesday February 24, 2016


Temperatures in the mid 30s, prevailed throughout most of the area with a light NNE wind resulting in a chilly raw day with occasional showers or a stiff drizzle as well as widespread fog, all this in the wake of the departing lead low pressure system. Very warm air, however, continued to stream into the region aloft, through the afternoon and evening and was able to mix down to the ground in a few spots with temperatures by 5pm in parts of the western Catskills and Schoharie County rising into the 40s and low 50s (Oneonta was 52° at 5pm) This also occurred in the favored downslope areas in southern Vermont with Bennington’s temperature rising to 50° during the evening. Rainfall amounts through 5pm generally ranged from 1/4" to 1/2" with locally over 1” in terrain favored areas of the eastern Catskills and pockets of 1/2" to 1” amounts in Warren County.

Wednesday Night – Early Thursday Morning (24th-25th) – Major Convective Event, Torrential T’Storms

A powerful El Nino infused storm, which had developed Tuesday evening over the lower Mississippi valley, produced torrential rain and a significant severe weather outbreak including several long track damaging tornadoes over southeast Louisiana, southern Mississippi, southern Alabama and the Florida panhandle into Tuesday night. This storm tracked northeast into the Tennessee and Ohio valleys by late Wednesday afternoon subsequently producing a second regional tornado outbreak over central North Carolina and southern and eastern Virginia with a line of damaging thunderstorms extending north through Maryland and Pennsylvania through the early Wednesday evening.

Powerful upper level wind fields with this storm spread north over eastern New York and western New England through the late afternoon and evening.  A low level jet of 70 + mph screamed north over the region at the 5000’ level in the atmosphere with pockets of that strong wind mixing down to the ground in isolated locations at times through midnight. (A 59 mph wind gust was recorded at Bennington, VT at 10:26 as terrain channeling aided in the momentum mix down.)  The strong low level jet effectively imported an elevated layer of warm, moist, unstable air into the region with elevated CAPE (convective available potential energy) values up to 500 j/kg with some of that CAPE ultimately becoming surface based in the mid Hudson valley and western New England after 11pm in places where the low level cold air finally scoured out.  Temperatures soared into the mid 60s at Poughkeepsie after 9:30pm with reports from WeatherNet 6 spotters in Taghkanic and Livingston in Columbia County of 60° temperature after 10pm, while much of the rest of the region remained stuck in the upper 30s to lower 40s.  Simultaneous to the low level jet importing moisture rich unstable air into eastern New York and western New England, the severe convective line raced to the northeast at forward speeds of over 50 mph from Pennsylvania, expanding north into south central New York after 7-8pm.

This line of torrential rain and t’storms moved into the Adirondacks, western Mohawk valley and Otsego and Delaware counties by 8:30pm with additional torrential downpours and t'storms developing in the Hudson valley in advance of the main convective line through 9:30pm.  Low level cold air remained trapped near the ground in most areas through 10pm which acted as a protective barrier, preventing the downpours and t’storms from mixing the powerful low level jet to the ground, preventing a widespread damaging t’storm wind event for the region. However, as the cold air mixed out in the mid Hudson valley, Berkshire, and Bennington counties after 10pm, additional convection moving into those areas became locally severe with reports of wind minor damage in the southern Berkshires and Litchfield County, CT where the atmosphere became more favorable for downward momentum mixing.  Trees and wires were blown down near Winchester Center in Litchfield County, CT at 11:57pm, and in Meadowvale and Blackinton, MA in Berkshire County around 12:30am on the 25th. Fortunately, the occurrences of severe wind locally were isolated for the event.

Lightning, however, was widespread with multiple rounds of thunderstorms swinging through the region between 8pm and midnight. Low rolling thunder was common as the in cloud strikes occurred above the low level cold air which acted to deflect the sound waves out horizontally above the inversion and away from the ground. Cloud to ground strikes, however, were reported to have produced unusually intense thunder. This was due to the sound waves being reflected back toward the ground to some extent by the top of the low level cold layer and then amplified through the shallow boundary layer of the atmosphere.

Base Reflectivity Tilt 1 from the Binghamton NWS Doppler radar showing the position of the convective line at 7:51pm Wednesday February 24, 2016

February 24, Binghamton Doppler Radar Image of the Strong Convective Line 

Base Reflectivity Tilt 1 from the Albany NWS Doppler radar showing torrential thunderstorms developing in Ulster, Dutchess, and Columbia counties at 8:26pm Wednesday February 24, 2016, in advance of the convective line still to the west.

Albany Doppler Radar Image of t'storms in the mid Hudson valley, 8:26pm 2/24/2016 

Base Reflectivity Tilt 1 from the Albany NWS Doppler radar showing both torrential thunderstorms in the Capital Region-Hudson valley and the convective line with frequent lightning stretching from the Mohawk valley to the Otsego-Schoharie County line through eastern Delaware County at 9:35pm Wednesday February 24, 2016

Albany Doppler Radar Image of the Strong Convective Line at 9:35pm, 2/24/2016 


Base Reflectivity Tilt 1 from the Albany NWS Doppler radar showing torrential thunderstorms lined up from Warren County through Saratoga and Schenectady counties, south through Albany and Greene counties with heavy t'storms in Columbia, Dutchess and southern Berkshires counties in advance of the main line at 10:30pm Wednesday February 24, 2016

Albany Doppler Radar Image of the Strong Convective Line at 10:30pm, 2/24/2016

Base Reflectivity Tilt 1 from the Albany NWS Doppler radar showing a severe t'storm line segment extending from Rensselaer County south through eastern Columbia County at 12:12am February 25, 2016. These t'storms produced the pockets of wind damage reported in Berkshire and Litchfield counties where the cold low level air had mixed out allowing stronger winds from aloft to more easily mix down to the ground in strong convective gusts.

Albany Doppler Radar Image of a severe t'storm line segment over Rensselaer and Columbia counties at 12:12am, 2/25/2016 


Summer time type rainfall amounts of 1”-2” occurred with the passing convective system resulting in widespread urban and small stream and creek flooding as the rain fell largely on frozen ground which produced extensive runoff. Minor flooding also occurred on the Canajoharie creek in Canajoharie, the Esopus Creek in Ulster County and the Mettawee River in Granville. The zone of heavy convective rain moved out of the region between midnight and 2am on Thursday the 25th, followed by additional scattered showers and t’storms moving from west to east prior to daybreak.

Thursday the 25th
In the wake of the convective rains additional light rain and showers persisted across the region as a series of fronts and a mid level low pressure wave moved across the region. After temperatures peaked near 60° prior to daybreak in the Capital Region, the numbers gradually dropped through the 40s during the day with gray damp conditions. Additional rainfall on Thursday generally ranged from 1/4" to 1/2", some of that the tail end of the convective event which was ongoing from midnight to 2am in the Hudson valley and western New England. Storm total rainfall for the event ranged from 1" to 3" to locally 3.5". Minor flooding persisted through Thursday of small streams and creeks with flooding conditions improving Thursday night.

Albany NWS total rainfall/precipitation analysis for the period February 23-25, 2016 compiled from local observations including WeatherNet 6.

Albany NWS Rainfall Analysis for the Period February 23-26, 2016

WeatherNet 6 Rainfall Reports Through 8am Thursday February 25, 2016
(Reports with the notation of "T" indicate combined rainfall for the 24th Through the Evening of the 25th)

Town
County
Rainfall Report
Town
County
Rainfall Report
Albany (ASOS) Albany 2.48" (T) Latham Albany 1.80" (T)
Guilderland Albany 2.42" (T) Coeymans Hollow Albany 2.90"
Colonie Albany 1.78" Glenmont Albany 2.70" (T)
           
North Chatham Columbia 2.39" Taghkanic Columbia 3.20"(T)
Ancramdale Columbia 1.62" to 2.12" Chatham Center Columbia 1.70"
Kinderhook Columbia 2.91" (T) Livingston Columbia 1.75"
Germantown Columbia 1.33"      
           
Kortright Delaware 2.00" Margaretville Delaware 1.50"
           
Red Hook Dutchess 2.20" (T)      
           
Broadalbin Fulton 1.40" Fish House Fulton 1.13" (T)
Perth Fulton 1.30" (T) Gloversville Fulton 1.40"
           
Cairo Greene 3.00" (T) Freehold Greene 3.25" (T)
Greenville Greene 2.10" (T) Halcott Center Greene 2.03"
Haines Falls Greene 3.43"      
           
Piseco Hamilton 2.70"      
           
Amsterdam Montgomery 1.15" (T) Florida Montgomery 1.06" (T)
Fonda Montgomery 1.60" (T) Hessville Montgomery 1.41" (T)
Palatine Bridge Montgomery 1.16" (T) Glen Montgomery 1.33" (T)
           
Worcester Otsego 1.75" East Worcester Otsego 1.56"
Cooperstown Otsego 1.50" Oneonta Otsego 1.70" (T)
           
Center Brunswick Rensselaer 1.56" (T) Speigletown Rensselaer 2.25" (T)
           
Malta Saratoga 1.54" (T) Charlton Saratoga 1.50" (T)
Lake Desolation Saratoga 2.30" Milton Saratoga 1.47" (T)
Ballston Lake Saratoga 1.71" (T)      
           
Scotia Schenectady 1.85" Duanesburg Schenectady 1.00"
Glenville Schenectady 1.35"      
           
Jefferson Schoharie 1.60" Middleburgh Schoharie 1.47" (T)
Summit Schoharie 1.81" (T) Huntersland Schoharie 1.05"
           
Phoenicia Ulster 3.34" (T) Whiteport Ulster 2.27"
Esopus Ulster 1.81 (T) West Shokan Ulster 3.39" (T)
           
Queensbury Warren 2.12" to 2.43" Brant Lake Warren 1.59"
Warrensburg Warren 2.20" to 2.25" Lake Luzerne Warren 1.65"
           
Salem Washington 2.56" (T) Hebron Washington 1.80"
Hudson Falls Washington 1.00"      
           
Manchester, VT Bennington 1.43" Woodford, VT Bennington 1.87"
Landgrove, VT Bennington 1.61" (T) Pownal, VT Bennington 1.35"
West Arlington, VT Bennington 1.26" West Rutland, VT Rutland 2.15" (T)
Pawlet, VT Rutland 1.47"      

 Flooding in Kinderhook, NY Columbia County 2/25/2016
Photographs contributed via Facebook by Laurie Phillips

Flooding in Kinderhook, NY February 25, 2016

 

Flooding in Kinderhook, NY February 25, 2016 



Flooding and Severe Weather Reports February 24-25, 2016
These are reports used by the NWS for verifying Flood and Severe T'Storm Warnings and do not represent all events of flooding or severe weather which may have occurred. Widespread minor urban and poor drainage flooding was reported to have occurred throughout the region during the period of heavy rainfall with that flooding rapidly dissipating after the rain had ended.

Town
County
Flood or Severe Report
Time of Report
Bennington, VT Bennington 59 mph non T'Storm gust recorded on the ASOS 10:26pm/24th
Woodstock Ulster Flooding along Route 375 and Route 212 11:15pm/24th
Queensbury Warren Over 10 basement pump outs reported 11:35pm/24th
Fort Edward Washington Basement collapse from water/flooding 11:39pm/24th
Delmar Albany Flooding of more than a foot of water under the bridge on Elsmere Ave just before Delaware Ave. intersection 11:43pm/24th
Gardiner Ulster Flood: Route 44/55 near Minnewaska, road collapse 11:45pm/24th
Greenwich Washington County Route 113 washed out 11:45pm/24th
Fort Edward Washington Flood: Road washed out, flooded Wing St. and East St. 11:56pm/24th
Near Winchester Center, CT Litchfield T'Storm Wind Damage: Trees and wires blown down blocking Forest Avenue and West Wakefield Boulevard 11:57pm/24th
Easton Washington Flood: Route 40 with 8-10" of water flowing across it 12:00am/25th
Kingsbury Washington Flood: Route 149 and County Route 41 flooded 12:22am/25th
Stone Ridge Ulster Flood: Steam at Cripplebush Fire House and County Route 2 just past Cherry Hill Road, with water flowing across the road 12:23am/25th
Meadowvale, MA Berkshire T'Storm Wind Damage: Fence blown through second floor house window 12:28am/25th
Blackinton, MA Berkshire T'Storm Wind Damage: Trees down on a house on Galvin Road with homes damaged by trees on Massachusetts Ave 12:30am/25th
Kingsbury Washington Flood: Route 196 St. James Rd closed due to flooding, along with Burgoyne and Maynard streets 12:40am/25th
Fort Edward Washington Broadway St. flooded and washed out 12:48am/25th