Thursday-Friday December 24-25, 2020
Major Rain - Wind - Flooding Event

Avalanche Aftermath - Belleyare Ski Resort - Highmount Ulster County
Supersaturated snow from the Yahoo trail let loose and slid into the Overlook Lodge at 5:30am Dec 25, 2020

Avalanche aftermath at the Overlook Lodge, Belleyare Mountain, Friday Morning December 25, 2020

Terrain was the name of the game with this unusually warm, for December, and moisture rich storm system. An extreme four to six inches of rain soaked the east facing slopes of the eastern Catskills with parts of Greene, southern Delaware, and Ulster counties the epicenter for the excessive rainfall and the subsequent significant flooding which occurred. 5.93" of rain fell on Phoenicia with 5.72" recorded in Tannersville along with 4.59" @ Freehold and 3.95" @ Arkville from Thursday evening through Friday morning with two to three inches of rain soaking parts of the the southern Adirondacks with the rest of the region coming in with anywhere from three quarters of a inch to an inch and a half.

Temperatures warmed into the upper 50s to lower 60s through the night and into the morning on the 25th with dewpoints surging into the mid and upper 50s to produce blowing fog which decimated the pre-existing deep snow pack, which ranged from 12"-24" across the entire region, falling in an epic storm only one week earlier. The runoff from the heavy rain and snow melt resulted in moderate to major flooding on parts of the Schoharie Creek from Prattsville to Breakabeen with major flooding also occurring on the Esopus Creek in Ulster County. Minor to moderate river flooding was also widespread throughout the region with flooding reported along the Hudson River in Troy, along the Mettawee River in Washington County, the Waloomsac river in Bennington, VT, the Hoosic River, the Housatonic River, the Canajoharie Creek and the Mohawk River at Cohoes, among others.

THE STORM
11:30pm Surface Map: Thursday December 24, 2020

11:30pm, Thursday December 25, 2020 East Coast Surface Map

The system was characterized by a strong feed of deep moisture which originated in the Gulf of Mexico with a significant contribution from the Gulf stream warmed Atlantic ocean. A screaming low level south to southeast flow developed with the system over the local area ranging from 50 to 80 mph just a few thousand feet off the ground with that flow effectively advecting copious amounts of deep moisture into the region which was effectively lifted through the atmosphere to produce heavy rainfall. With such a strong southeast low level flow, terrain influences were maximized across the local area with significant upslope flow enhancing the rainfall along the east facing slopes of the Catskills, resulting in the 4"-6" totals, as well as across the southern Adirondacks, resulting in 2"-3" totals there. In the downslope, or shadow regions, in northern Schoharie County, the Mohawk valley and to a lesser extent in the mid Hudson valley to the Capital Region into Washington County, rainfall amounts were reduced, but still considerable, ranging from 3/4" to 1.50" on average.

The strong southerly flow on the east side of the low pushed a surge of anomalously warm and humid north through a narrow channel resulting in both a temperature and dewpoint surge through the night and into early Friday morning with high temperature ultimately ranging from 60°-65° and dewpoints climbing into the mid and upper 50s.

11:30pm Temperatures December 24, 2020

11:30pm Thursday December 24, 2020 East Coast Temperatures

11pm Local Temperatures Thursday December 24, 2020

11pm Thursday December 24, 2020 Local Temperature Observations

12am Regional Temperatures Friday December 25 2020

12am Friday December 25, 2020 Regional Temperature Observations 
12am Regional Dewpoint Observations Friday December 25 2020

12am Friday December 25, 2020 Regional Dewpoint Observations 
9am Regional Dewpoint Observations Friday December 25 2020

9am Friday December 25, 2020 Regional Dewpoint Observations

9am Regional Temperatures Friday December 25 2020

9am Friday December 25, 2020 Regional Temperature Observations 
Rainfall was maximized throughout the region from Thursday evening December 24 through Friday morning December 25 with periods of lighter rain continuing, especially from the Hudson valley on east into New England, through late Friday afternoon and evening before completely ending. The push of colder air behind the storm was slow with temperatures not falling back into the 30s until Friday evening in the Capital Region with areas of light snow and snow showers kicking in late in the day due to the storm's parent upper level trough moving overhead coupled with developing lake effect.

11pm Instant Doppler 6 Image Thursday December 24, 2020

11pm Thursday December 24, 2020 Instant Doppler 6 Image showing widespread heavy rain from the Capital Region and Hudson valley on west 

Albany National Weather Service Rainfall Amount and Distribution Analysis, December 24-25, 2020

Albany NWS Rainfall Analysis for the December 24-25, 2020 Event
 

WeatherNet 6 Storm Total Rainfall Reports for December 24-25, 2020
(NYSM = New York State Mesonet Observation)

Town County Rainfall Report Town County Rainfall Report
Lanesborough, MA Berkshire 1.24" Stockbridge, MA Berkshire 1.36"
Savoy, MA Berkshire 2.00" Becket, MA Berkshire 1.00"
Pittsfield, MA Berkshire 1.22" (ASOS) North Adams, MA Berkshire 1.45" (ASOS)
           
Albany (ASOS) Albany 1.20" (ASOS) Delmar Albany 1.58"
Rensselaerville Albany 2.11" Medusa (NYSM) Albany 1.74"
Voorheesville (NYSM) Albany 1.51" Albany (NWS) Albany 1.33"
Glenmont Albany 1.21"      
           
Livingston Columbia 1.36" Copake (NYSM) Columbia 1.50"
Kinderhook (NYSM) Columbia 1.44"      
           
Livingston Columbia 1.50" Taghkanic Columbia 1.10"
Germantown Columbia 3.00" Kinderhook (NYSM) Columbia 2.26"
Copake (NYSM) Columbia 2.16"      
           
Arkville Delaware 3.95"      
           
Red Hook Dutchess 1.28" Beacon (NYSM) Dutchess 3.12"
Dover Plains (NYSM) Dutchess 1.73" Red Hook (NYSM) Dutchess 1.59"
           
Northville Fulton 1.20" Oppenheim (NYSM) Fulton 1.12"
Perth Fulton 0.96"      
           
Cairo Greene 2.20" Freehold Greene 4.59"
Tannersville (NYSM) Greene 5.72" South Cairo Greene 2.80"
Greenville Greene 2.77" Catskill Greene 1.48"
Halcott Greene 2.63" Earlton Greene 2.80"
           
Indian Lake Hamilton 2.60" Piseco (NYSM) Hamilton 2.13"
Old Forge (NYSM) Herkimer 2.26" Cold Brook (NYSM) Herkimer 1.79"
Herkimer (NYSM) Herkimer 1.21"      
           
Amsterdam Montgomery 0.88" Fonda Montgomery 1.07"
Palatine Bridge Montgomery 0.93" Sprakers (NYSM) Montgomery 1.01"
Johnstown (NYSM) Montgomery 1.00"      
           
Oneonta Otsego 1.30"      
           
Brunswick Rensselaer 0.93" North Greenbush Rensselaer 0.97"
Stephentown (NYSM) Rensselaer 1.74" Speigletown Rensselaer 0.80"
Center Brunswick Rensselaer 0.70"      
           
Galway Saratoga 1.15" Lake Desolation Saratoga 1.40"
Clifton Park Saratoga 0.95" Edinburg (NYSM) Saratoga 1.13"
Ballston Spa (NYSM) Saratoga 0.67"      
           
Duanesburg Schenectady 0.95" to 1.01" Rotterdam Schenectady 1.14"
           
Charlotteville Schoharie 1.45" Jefferson Schoharie 2.50" to 3.20"
Warnerville Schoharie 1.24" Richmondville Schoharie 0.74"
           
Kingston Ulster 1.59" Olivebridge Ulster 1.10"
Phoenicia Ulster 5.93" Claryville (NYSM) Ulster 4.12"
Port Ewen Ulster 1.45" High Falls (NYSM) Ulster 1.39"
           
Hartford Washington 0.85" Granville Washington 0.85"
Hudson Falls Washington 0.40" Salem Washington 0.50"
           
Warrensburg Warren 1.20" Chestertown (NYSM) Warren 2.03"
Glens Falls (NYSM) Warren 0.75" Lake Luzerne Warren 0.60"
Queensbury Warren 0.52"      
           
Landgrove, VT Bennington 1.26" Danby, VT Rutland 0.38"

WIND
Strong wind gusts were a concern with this storm due to the exceptionally fast flow of 50-80 mph that was oriented very low in the atmosphere which is why a combination of high wind warnings and wind advisories were issued for parts of the region. Typically in strong SSE flow situations, it's the Taconics, Litchfield hills, Berkshires and southern Vermont that will experience the highest wind gusts with considerable valley channeling, which was the case in this event as some gusts came in over 50 mph. Elsewhere, gusts were very sporadic in nature coming in a few fits and bursts, generally peaking from 30-40 mph early Friday morning as some heavier rain elements were able to mix some of the stronger wind from aloft down to the ground. In the end, a shallow but strong enough low level temperature inversion (colder air near the ground than aloft) was sufficient to prevent much strong wind from penetrating the low level stable layer to make it to the ground in damaging gusts. So, although there were a few stronger gusts, especially across western New England, widespread sustained strong damaging wind did not occur with this storm.

Wind alert county outline map December 24-25, 2020

Peak Gust Wind Measurements From Across The Region - December 24-25, 2020
(NYSM = New York State Mesonet Observations)

Town County Peak Gust Time of Gust
Pittsfield, MA (ASOS) Berkshire 47 mph 2:54am/25th
Williamstown, MA Berkshire 57 mph 8:30am/25th
North Adams, MA (ASOS) Berkshire 45 mph 5:52am/25th
       
Albany (ASOS) Albany 40 mph 5:51am/25th
Voorheesville (NYSM) Albany 38 mph 5:40am/25th
       
Copake (NYSM) Columbia 54 mph 4:40am/25th
Kinderhook (NYSM) Columbia 49 mph 2:40am/25th
       
Beacon (NYSM) Dutchess 55 mph 4:10am/25th
Red Hook (NYSM) Dutchess 47 mph 4:31am/25th
       
Tannersville (NYSM) Greene 42 mph 2:40am/25th
       
Brunswick Rensselaer 55 mph 2:35am/25th
Stephentown (NYSM) Rensselaer 45 mph 1:40am/25th
Schodack (NYSM) Rensselaer 41 mph 5:10am/25th
       
Claryville (NYSM) Ulster 41 mph 2:40am/25th
       
Bennington, VT Bennington 55 mph 5:54pm/24th

Schoharie Creek flooding in Middleburgh, Schoharie County Friday morning December 25, 2020 - Photograph contributed by Jake Reed


Schoharie Creek Flooding in Middleburgh December 25, 2020

Middleburgh Flooding from the Schoharie Creek - December 25, 2020 - Jake Reed

Schoharie Creek Flooding in Middleburgh December 25, 2020

Middleburgh Flooding from the Schoharie Creek - December 25, 2020 - Jake Reed

Schoharie Creek Flooding in Middleburgh December 25, 2020 

Flood Damage to Route 214 in Phoenicia - Ulster County - The route that connects Greene and Ulster Counties

Schoharie Creek Flooding in Middleburgh December 25, 2020 

NWS Storm Reports for December 25, 2020

Town County Wind Damage or Flood Report Time
Prattsville Greene FLOOD: 20-25 residents evacuated along County Route 7 due to rising water on the Schoharie Creek 1:28am
Phoenicia Ulster FLOOD: Flooding in downtown Phoenicia between 2 and 5am. Water flowing down Main Street from the Esopus Creek. 11 people evacuated 2:00am
LaGrange Dutchess Wind Damage: Tree blown down 3:00am
New Paltz Ulster Wind Damage: Scattered trees down 3:00am
Hudson Columbia Wind Damage: Scattered trees blown down 4:00am
Poughkeepsie Ulster Wind Damage: Scattered trees blown down 4:00am
Highmount Ulster Avalanche at the Belleyare Ski Resort with significant damage to the overlook lodge. Windows and doors broken with a snow flow right into the lodge 5:30am
Richmond, MA Berkshire Wind Damage: Tree blown down on Route 295 6:00am
Hudson Columbia FLOOD: Flooding reported on Route 9G in Greenport near Hudson 6:00am
Prattsville Greene FLOOD: All lanes closed on Route 23 in the town of Prattsville near the Delaware County line due to flooding 6:34am
Westerlo Albany FLOOD: Causeway on county Road 404 over the Basic Creek Reservoir closed due to 6-12" of water over the roadway 7:00am
Middleburgh Schoharie FLOOD: The Schoharie Creek flooded parts of Route 30 in Middleburgh forcing the road to be closed 11:20am
Halcott Center Greene FLOOD: Both the north and southbound lanes of Route 42 closed due to flooding between County Route 6 and Howard Road in the Hamlet of West Kill 1:00pm
Voorheesville Albany FLOOD: New Salem Road at the intersection of Hickory Ridge Road in New Scotland closed due to flooding 2:22pm
Clermont Columbia Wind Damage: Two trees blow down on Commons Road 3:55pm

Avalanche Damage to the Overlook Lodge at Belleyare Ski Resort - Highmount - Ulster County Dec. 25, 2020

Damage to the Overlook Lodge at Belleyare Ski Resort December 25, 2020 

Avalanche Damage to the Overlook Lodge at Belleyare Ski Resort - Highmount - Ulster County Dec. 25, 2020

Damage to the Overlook Lodge at Belleyare Ski Resort December 25, 2020