A look at flooding you won’t see on the news

A little over a week ago, I was wondering when the snow in this area would melt.   We had a very heavy snowfall this winter, along with a delayed spring.   Usually we see snow melting starting in March, but this year, it wasn’t just the snow stayed around, we were getting more snow, even through the first two weeks of April.  Which was annoying, to put it mildly.  Although we started get some warm spells which started the snow melt, and there wasn’t as much as there had been at the beginning of the month, there was still quite a few large snow banks, and a lot of snow in the woods in the area.   Last week, we not only started getting warm, we got rain.  A lot of rain, as in 3-5 inches.  Which would be, in a different time or situation, a cause for some minor flooding in very low-lying spots, but nothing to get panicked about.  Except that it also melted all the snow which was on the ground.  The result?  Record water levels and flooding.   It was astonishing to see, and last Friday, I went out with a camera.  The water had gone down to an extent by that point, but was still above most normal flood years.

I thought I’d give some idea of what it looks like up here.

This is from last year at this time:

You’re looking at a stream outlet, with a little island in the middle.  The leaves are starting to appear on the trees, and things are “greening up.”  Now, this is the same stream outlet last Friday:

The leaves haven’t started to appear yet, due to the delay in warmer temperatures, but yes, the tree you see in the center of the picture is the one on the island in the first picture.  Next up, this is a picture of a boat launch from last year:

And this is from Friday:

The “line” you see across the pavement is where the water was on Thursday.  Here’s a different view showing the extent of the water level:

This is the picnic area for one of the local campgrounds:

I assure you, it’s normally grass and well above the lake level.  A local golf course’s driving range looked like this:

And yes, Thursday, it was totally under water.  This is a trailhead:

The clear gravel area was a full-fledged stream the previous day.  There’s a lot of stories in the news about flooding in the Midwest these days.  What people never realize is that sometimes, there’s floods and other disasters that happen that never make the national news.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “A look at flooding you won’t see on the news

  1. Alan Scott

    Beautiful country you have up there .

    • It is pretty. 🙂 Of course, it generally looks a lot better when the water is at the level it’s supposed to be at, and the mud is actually solid ground.

  2. Aquagranny911

    Forgive me for drooling a bit over those water pics but as a child of the desert, water of any kind gets my attention. I know that flooding can be real serious. We get some terrible things happen here when the summer monsoons come. It almost seems if you can’t win for losing. You need the water, but just enough and only where it is needed.

    Keep safe and I hope the floods won’t get too high there.

    • It looks like (if the weather reports are to be believed) that we’re getting a four or five day break from rain, and the water levels can start to trend back toward normal. What makes it bad not just for us, but potentially elsewhere, is that these are among the headwaters for two rivers – the Hudson and the Saint Lawrence. The lake in the pictures above empties into a river which joins the Hudson. A half-mile from this lake is another one, which empties (eventually) to the Saint Lawrence. So problems here eventually mean serious problems elsewhere, including some major cities.

      What’s been surprising to me is not just the amount of water we’ve got in our waterways – which is setting all sorts of records – but the amount in the ground – soil saturation. I’ve been hitting some of the trails, and I know most of the normal “muddy spots” – the places where you’re going to get mud, and sink in. What I’m finding is that sections that are normally “hard pack” on the trails, and never get to a “sink in mud up to your ankles” are now just that. The muddy spots are filled with water. Fortunately, I haven’t had to go far in, but anyone who’s trying to do backpacking or camping in the back country around here is certifiable.