Halloween Storm
Severe Flash Flooding – Regional High Wind Event
Thursday-Friday October 31-November 1, 2019

Photograph by CBS6 Meteorologist Craig Adams
Flooding of the East Canada Creek onto North Main Street, Dolgeville, Herkimer County on Friday November 1, 2019
Dolgeville was one of several communities severely impacted by flooding in this event.


Flooding on Main Street Dolgeville, Herkimer County Friday November 1, 2019

The Halloween 2019 storm goes down into the books for pushing a record warm and humid air mass into the Northeast and for causing high wind, strong convection, and epic flash flooding across eastern New York and western New England.

Torrential rainfall across the southern Adirondacks and Mohawk valley in advance of a strong cold front fell from the late afternoon into the night on Halloween and ranged from 2”-5”+ on average. On going wet ground conditions, from the previously wet October (9th wettest on record to date at Albany) created an environment of high runoff which resulted in severe flash flooding across southern Herkimer County as well as in parts of Hamilton, NW Saratoga, and Warren counties.  A rare flash flood emergency was issued for south central Herkimer County around 11pm Thursday where the predominantly clay soil type makes the County particularly prone to flooding. Numerous roads and bridges in Herkimer, Hamilton and northern Warren counties washed out due to the severe flooding.  Record river crests were recorded at the river gauge sites at Hinckley Dam and Kast Bridge on the West Canada Creek in Herkimer County, at Little Falls on the Mohawk River and at Hope on the Sacandaga River in Hamilton County. See the four hydrographs below.

River
Record Crest
Previous Record
West Canada Creek at Hinckley Dam
1231.49'
1230.7'
West Canada Creek at Kast Bridge
10.94'
10.5'
Mohawk River at Little Falls
19.9'
19.7'
Sacandaga River at Hope
12.26'
12.0'

West Canada Creek at Kinckley Dam Hydrograph 

 West Canada Creek at Kast Bridge Hydrograph

Mohawk River at Little Falls Hydrograph

Sacandaga River at Hope Hydrograph

Rainfall across the remainder of the region was significant but not as heavy as it was in the Adirondacks and western Mohawk valley, generally ranging from 3/4" to 1.75" on average. Flooding was generally confined to nuisance urban and poor drainage during the periods of heavier downpours Thursday night into early Friday morning.

 Albany NWS Rainfall Analysis for the Halloween Storm

Storm Total Rainfall Reports from WeatherNet 6 and the NWS for October 31-November 1, 2019

Town County Rainfall Report Town County Rainfall Report
Hancock, MA Berkshire 1.50" Clarksburg, MA Berkshire 1.74"
Savoy, MA Berkshire 1.90" Pittsfield, MA Berkshire 1.40"
North Adams, MA Berkshire 1.09" Great Barrington, MA Berkshire 0.62"
           
Albany (ASOS) Albany 1.06" South Berne Albany 1.25"
Colonie Albany 0.96" Rensselaerville Albany 0.98"
Voorheesville (NYSM) Albany 0.81" Medusa (NYSM) Albany 0.65"
           
Livingston Columbia 1.24" Taghkanic Columbia 1.33"
Ancramdale Columbia 0.92" Kinderhook (NYSM) Columbia 1.07"
           
Denver Delaware 1.30" Arkville Delaware 1.85"
Roxbury Delaware 1.10"      
           
Staatsburg Dutchess 1.01" Poughkeepsie Dutchess 1.21"
           
Broadalbin Fulton 2.80" Fish House Fulton 2.80"
Gloversville Fulton 2.33" Perth Fulton 1.03"
Northville Fulton 2.08" Johnstown Fulton 1.58"
           
Catskill Greene 1.68" Halcott Center Greene 1.78"
Cairo Greene 1.70" Coxsackie Greene 1.31"
Tannersville Greene 2.70" East Jewett Greene 2.43"
           
Wells Hamilton 4.14" Piseco Hamilton 7.0"
Indian Lake Hamilton 3.96"      
           
Hessville Montgomery 1.86" Fort Plain Montgomery 1.87"
Fonda Montgomery 2.07" Palatine Bridge Montgomery 1.24"
Tribes Hill Montgomery 1.65" Amsterdam Montgomery 0.82"
           
Worcester Otsego 1.93" Oneonta Otsego 1.19"
           
Speigletown Rensselaer 1.50" Troy Rensselaer 1.40"
Brunswick Rensselaer 1.15" Stephentown Rensselaer 1.09"
           
Malta Saratoga 1.50" Lake Desolation Saratoga 2.11"
Clifton Park (Oaks) Saratoga 0.90" Galway Saratoga 2.69"
Saratoga Springs Saratoga 1.70" to 1.88" Ballston Lake Saratoga 1.76"
           
Rotterdam Schenectady 0.82" Duanesburg Schenectady 1.00"
           
North Blenheim Schoharie 0.85" Huntersland Schoharie 0.82" to 0.98"
Jefferson Schoharie 2.50" to 3.00" Richmondville Schoharie 0.72"
Cobleskill Schoharie 1.84" Schoharie Schoharie 0.91"
Warnerville Schoharie 2.44"      
           
Kingston Ulster 1.59" Olivebridge Ulster 3.27"
West Shokan Ulster 3.52" Phoenicia Ulster 3.56"
Whiteport Ulster 1.59"      
           
Queensbury Warren 3.05" Lake Luzerne Warren 2.80"
Chestertown Warren 3.08" Lake George Warren 2.87"
Glens Falls Warren 1.38" Bolton Landing Warren 1.66"
           
Greenwich Washington 1.55" Hartford Washington 2.01"
Hebron Washington 1.24" Hudson Falls Washington 0.74"
Granville Washington 1.32" Fort Ann Washington 1.25"
           
Woodford, VT Bennington 1.50" Landgrove, VT Bennington 1.72"
West Arlington, VT Bennington 1.26" Wilmington, VT Windham 1.79"
West Rutland, VT Rutland 2.23" Manchester, VT Bennington 1.55"

Flood Reports for the Halloween Storm
Note, these reports are used to verify the NWS warnings which were issued for this event and therefore do not necessarily represent an accounting for all of the flooding which may have occurred.

Town
County Flood Report Time of Flooding
Newport Herkimer Flood: Two inches of water reported flowing across Main Street 8:00pm/31st
Schuyler Herkimer Flash Flood: 2-3' of water on Graffenburg, Rd. 8:30pm/31st
Cold Brook Herkimer Flash Flood: 1'-2' of water on Main Street 8:30pm/31st
Middleville Herkimer Flood: Village wide flooding reported 9:00pm/31st
Newport Herkimer Flash Flood: Newport Road washed out 9:00pm/31st
Frankfort Herkimer Flash Flood: Ongoing flooding with Route 5 closed between Windfall Rd. and Drive In Rd. 9:56pm/31st
Speculator Hamilton Flash Flood: Route 30 closed between Speculator and Indian Lake due to flooding 10:00pm/31st
Schuyler Herkimer Flash Flood: Ongoing flooding with Route 5 closed between Newport Rd. and Millers Grove Rd. 10:03pm/31st
Middleville Herkimer Flash Flood: Ongoing flooding with Route 28 closed between Middleville and Poland 10:12pm/31st
Newport Herkimer Flood: 1 fatality, elderly male swept away from vehicle on Military Road 10:30pm/31st
Frankfort Herkimer Flash Flood: Ongoing flooding with Route 5S closed due to a mudslide around Culvert Ave. 10:56pm/31st
Brant Lake Warren Flash Flood: Ongoing flooding with Route 8 closed in the town of Horcion between Duell Hill Road and Palisades Rd. 11:35pm/31st
Palatine Bridge Montgomery Flood: State Route 5 closed between Groff and Staley Road due to flooding 2:25am/1st
Amsterdam Montgomery Flood: State Route 5 closed between Pattersonville Road and Bulls Head Rd. due to flooding 2:43/1st
Wells Hamilton Flood: Route 30 closed between Benson and Wells due to water flowing over the road 5:00am/1st
Wells Hamilton Flood: Widespread flooding throughout Wells, water rescues occurred, Route 8 closed 5:00am/1st
Amsterdam Montgomery Flood: Flooding near Lock 10 in Cranesville. Route 5S from Pattersonville Rd. to Bullshead Road closed 6:30am/1st
Salisbury Herkimer Flood: Route 29 closed over Spruce Creek 6:42am/1st
Dolgeville Herkimer Flood: East Canada Creek is over its banks and flowing into residences, swift water rescues occurred 7:37am/1st
Day Center Saratoga Flood: Hadley Hill Road closed at Paul Creek in the Town of Day, one lane washed out 8:56am/1st
Middleville Herkimer Flood: Roads and a bridge are washed out in the town of Fairfield, swift water rescues occurred 9:19am/1st
Poland Herkimer Flood: Route 28 closed between Barneveld and Poland due to flooding 9:44am/1st
Ohio Herkimer Roads washed out 9:50am/1st
Northwood Herkimer Flood: Road and bridge washed away at Black Creek Road 9:50am/1st
Ohio Herkimer Flood: Road and bridge washed away on Gray Wilmurt Road 9:50am/1st
Lake Luzerne Warren Flood: Hudson River flooding into Stephen Lane, evacuations ordered 9:56am/1st
Greenfield Saratoga Flood: County Route 12 washed out at Barney Road in the town of Greenfield 10:08am/1st
Nobleboro Herkimer Flood: One lane of Route 8 is washed out between Route 365 and Gray-Wilmurt Road 10:20am/1st
Johnsburg Warren Major Flooding: Twenty five roads were washed out in the Johnsburg area 10:32am/1st
Day Center Saratoga Flood: Bridge at Military Rd. and Sand Lake Road in Edinburg closed due to damage from flooding 10:42ma/1st
Fort Plain Montgomery Flood: Route 5S closed between Route 80 and Rouse Road due to flooding 12:29pm/1st
Fultonville Montgomery Flood: Residences evacuated due to flooding 12:56pm/1st
Dolgeville Herkimer Flood: The Route 29 bridge over the East Canada Creek is closed due to flooding 2:33pm/1st
Caroga Lake Fulton Flood: Route 10 is closed between Route 29A and Route 8 due to flooding 3:31pm/1st

SET-UP
Record Warmth -Strong Convection

The storm that produced all the rain and flooding, strong convection and wind rapidly intensified as it tracked from Ohio to Lake Ontario, then north of the region through southern Canada from early Halloween into the early morning on Friday November 1.  As the storm strengthened the pressure gradient increased causing a strong southerly flow to develop over eastern New York and western New England with gusts from 30-40 mph at times through the day.  The flow pushed an unusually warm and humid air mass into the region with a surge in both temperature and dewpoints into the night.  Dewpoints soared into the mid 60s by Halloween afternoon with temperatures climbing into the low and mid 70s.  A record high temperature of 75° occurred at Albany at 9:32pm after a record high minimum temperature of 60° was set in the morning.

Dewpoints around 9pm Halloween, 2019

Dewpoints around 9pm Halloween, 2019 

The combination of strong wind fields with a potent low level jet only 3000'-5000’ above the ground, and strong turning of the wind with height, created a favorable environment for low topped convection along the storm’s advancing cold front during the evening.  A lack of instability was the only missing ingredient in what otherwise would have been a set-up for a major widespread severe weather outbreak. Nevertheless, strong but shallow convection developed during the evening along the advancing front with some of the more intense rain segments producing localized damaging wind gusts as the downdrafts mixed some of the strong wind aloft down to the ground in powerful gusts. There was very little lightning with most of the activity as the storm tops were generally under 20,000, a threshold necessary in most cases for lightning generation as ice crystals and water droplets more effectively mix in taller storms, which is the process that creates charge separation and subsequent lightning.  However, one very strong cell did produce in cloud lightning as it came up from Ulster County, though Greene, eastern Albany, and Rensselaer counties between 11pm and midnight.  That cell produced pockets of wind damage in Rensselaer County in Troy, Averill Park and Hoosick falls where trees and power lines were blown down.

A severe t’storm watch was issued for eastern New York from 6:15pm on Halloween for the potential of convective damaging wind.

Severe T'Storm Watch October 31, 2019

Instant Doppler 6 reflectivity image around 12:30am, Friday November 1, 2019: The radar showed a final line of torrential downpours at this time stretching from NW Saratoga County southwest through eastern Fulton, eastern Montgomery and Schoharie counties. This line of downpours marked the position of the cold front and was followed by a a westerly wind shift with gusts in excess of 50 mph throughout the region. A gust of 61 mph occurred at Amsterdam at 12:35am with the passage of the front and 62 mph on top of the MVP building in Schenectady at 12:57am as the front went through.

Instant Doppler 6 reflectivity image around 1:00am Friday November 1, 2019


REGIONAL HIGH WIND EVENT

Following the passage of the cold front, and the west to northwest wind shift frequent gusts from 40-50 mph occurred after 2-3am with those strong gusts continuing through the early afternoon on Friday November 1. A tight pressure gradient in the wake of the storm coupled with a well mixed atmosphere through a deep layer allowed for the effective downward transfer of strong winds that were blowing only a few thousand feet above the ground. The Mohawk valley also effectively channeled the flow causing some local accelerations with gusts topping 60 mph at Hessville and Amsterdam. At the peak of the wind during the morning, approximately 242,000 New York utility customers that are tracked lost power statewide with Hamilton, Fulton, Saratoga, Warren, and Washington counties most significantly effected by power outages due to downed trees and power lines locally. Some of the outages lasted into Monday November 4. A high wind warning was issued for the Mohawk and Schoharie valleys and points north with a wind advisory for the remainder of the region initially through 6pm but was cancelled at 3pm as peak gust diminished through Friday afternoon.

NWS Wind Alerts for the Halloween Storm 


Peak Gust Wind Measurements From Across The Region - October 31-November 1, 2019
(NYSM = New York State Mesonet)
(CBS6= Freihofer's weather sensors)

Town County Peak Gust Time of Gust
Pittsfield, MA (ASOS) Berkshire 51 mph 5:16am/1st
Pittsfield, MA (CBS6) Berkshire 51 mph 12:08pm/1st
Adams, MA Berkshire 50 mph 11:31am/1st
Williamstown, MA Berkshire 39 mph 12:15pm/1st
Peru, MA Berkshire 48 mph 11:45pm/31st
       
Albany (ASOS) Albany 51 mph 11:31am/1st
Voorheesville (NYSM) Albany 55 mph 1:55am/1st
Medusa (NYSM) Albany 41 mph 11:25am/1st
       
Kinderhook (NYSM) Columbia 46 mph 9:45pm/31st
Copake (NYSM) Columbia 52 mph 1:30am/1st
       
Broadalbin Fulton 46 mph 7:16/1st
Johnstown Fulton 51 mph 9:17/1st
       
Tannersville (NYSM) Greene 45 mph 8:15pm/31st
       
Piseco (NYSM) Hamilton 52 mph 6:30am/1st
Indian Lake (NYSM) Hamilton 42 mph 5:05am/1st
Herkimer (NYSM) Herkimer 60 mph 8:30am/2st
       
Hessville Montgomery 63 mph 10:35am/1st
Amsterdam (CBS6) Montgomery 61 mph 12:35am/1st
Amsterdam (CBS6) Montgomery 62 mph 9:19am/1st
Sprakers (NYSM) Montgomery 53 mph 8:20am/1st
Johnstown (NYSM) Montgomery 50 mph 10:25am/1st
       
Hoosick Falls Rensselaer 44 mph 9:46am/1st
Brunswick Rensselaer 49 mph 12:10am/1st
Troy (CBS6) Rensselaer 51 mph 1:18am/1st
Stephentown (NYSM) Rensselaer 47 mph 11:15pm/31st
       
Edinburg (NYSM) Saratoga 54 mph 7:15am/1st
Ballston Spa (NYSM) Saratoga 46 mph 7:55am/1st
       
Sch'dy (CBS6-100' AGL) Schenectady 62 mph 12:35am/1st
Sch'dy (CBS6-100' AGL) Schenectady 65 mph 10:37am/1st
Duanesburg (NYSM) Schenectady 51 mph 11:15am/1st
Schenectady Airport Schenectady 43 mph 10:54am/1st
       
Cobleskill Schoharie 47 mph 1:02am/1st
       
Chestertown (NYSM) Warren 47 mph 6:45am/1st
Glens Falls CBS6) Warren 51 mph 12:12pm/1st
       
Woodford State Park, VT Bennington 35 mph

10:02am/1st

Bennington, VT Bennington 44 mph 11:11am/1st
       
Whiteface Mtn. Observatory Essex 72 mph 2:15am/1st

 

Wind Damage Reports - Thursday October 31-Friday November 1, 2019
Note: These reports are used by the National Weather to verify the High Wind Warning and Wind Advisory that were in effect and are therefore only a sampling of the wind damage that occurred, not a complete list.

Town
County Wind Damage Report (All Gradient Wind) Time of Damage
Halfmoon Saratoga Trees blown down 5:35pm/31st
West Sand Lake Rensselaer Trees blown down 5:37pm/31st
High Falls Ulster Tree and wires blown down 9:00pm/31st
Hartford Washington Several reports of trees blown down across Washington County 10:00pm/31st
East Schodack Rensselaer Two large trees downed at Miller Road and Palmer Road 1:30am/1st
Rotterdam Junction Schenectady Utility pole down at the junction of Burdeck St. and Dunnsville Rd. 4:10am/1st
Manchester Center, VT Bennington large tree down blocking entrance to Riverside Townhouses Road 5:45am/1st
Wilton Saratoga Tree down on a utility pole on Ballard Rd. 6:30am
Salisbury Herkimer Measured gust to 50 mph 7:42am/1st
Ilion Herkimer Large tree blown down blocking South 3rd Ave. 9:00am/1st
Gansevoort Saratoga One lane of I-87 northbound was closed between exits 16 and 17 due to a downed tree 9:12am/1st
Albany Albany Large tree downed on Myrtle Avenue between West lawrence and South Main 9:14am/1st
New Baltimore Greene Route 144 closed at Shady Harbor Road due to blown down wires 9:15am/1st
Wilton Saratoga Tow lanes of I-87 southbound between exits 15 and 16 closed due to a downed tree 9:29am/1st
Tribes Hill Montgomery Part of a metal roof was blown off a residence 9:42am/1st
Fonda Montgomery Route 334 closed between Vedder Road and Commons road due to a downed tree 11:13am/1st
Indian Lake Hamilton Route 28 closed in both directions between Indian Lake and Blue Mountain Lake due to downed trees and power lines 11:44am/1st
Ballston Spa Saratoga Route 67 closed at Hop City Road due to downed wires 12:45pm/1st
Rock City Falls Saratoga Trees down on wires resulting in road closure at Middle Grove Road and Sand Hill Road 12:51pm/1st
Saratoga Springs Saratoga Downed wires on Route 29 east and west bound between Buff Road and Pine Road 1:15pm/1st
Johnstown Fulton Route 29 closed in both directions between Harrison Street and Hales Mills Road due to downed trees and wires 1:30pm/1st
Porter Corners Saratoga Route 9N between Holmes Road and Spier Falls Road blocked in both directions due to downed trees and wires 2:00pm/1st
Warrensburg Warren Tree and wires down across Golf Course Road blocking traffic 2:30pm/1st

Large tree blown down on Spring Street in the village of Chatham - Photo Credit Jim Meehan - WeatherNet 6

Tree blown down on Spring Street Chatham - Columbia County 

The following three images are of the flood damage to Lake Desolation Road in Lake Desolation - Saratoga County Numerous roads from south central Herkimer County through Hamilton, NW Saratoga and Warren counties were left in this washed out condition due to the severe flash flooding
Photo Credit: Brittany Noxon  


Flood damage to Lake Desolation Road - Lake Desolation Saratoga County

Flood damage to Lake Desolation Road - Lake Desolation Saratoga County

 Flood damage to Lake Desolation Road - Lake Desolation Saratoga County