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Hydrologic Outlook
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000
FGUS71 KBUF 191557
ESFBUF
NYC003-009-011-013-029-037-045-049-051-055-063-069-073-075-117-
121-051600-

WINTER/SPRING FLOOD POTENTIAL OUTLOOK
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BUFFALO NY
1057 AM EST THU FEB 19 2015

...BELOW NORMAL FLOOD RISK THROUGH MARCH 5TH...

THIS IS THE FOURTH WINTER / SPRING FLOOD POTENTIAL OUTLOOK OF THE 2015
SEASON. FLOOD OUTLOOKS WILL BE ISSUED EVERY TWO WEEKS INTO EARLY
SPRING TO SUMMARIZE BASIN HYDROMETEOROLOGICAL CONDITIONS AND TO
ASSESS THE POTENTIAL FOR FLOODING. THE OUTLOOKS ARE BASED ON
CURRENT AND FORECAST HYDROMETEOROLOGICAL CONDITIONS. THIS INCLUDES
SNOW COVER AND WATER EQUIVALENT...CREEK AND RIVER LEVELS AND THE
AMOUNT OF ICE COVER ON THEM...ALONG WITH THE EXPECTED PRECIPITATION
OVER THE NEXT TWO WEEKS.

...CURRENT CONDITIONS SUMMARY...
THE REGION HAS REMAINED IN A DEEP FREEZE SINCE EARLY JANUARY...AND
SNOW PACK HAS CONTINUED TO BUILD UP EVER SINCE. IN THE PAST TWO
WEEKS THERE HAS BEEN VIRTUALLY NO SNOW MELT...WITH ROUGHLY AN
INCH OR TWO OF ADDITIONAL WATER EQUIVALENT ADDED AT MOST SITES.

WATER EQUIVALENT VALUES ARE ABOVE NORMAL ACROSS THE REGION.
ALTHOUGH THERE IS NO HISTORICAL DATA AVAILABLE FOR THE BUFFALO
CREEKS BASIN...THE CURRENT VALUES ARE WELL ABOVE NORMAL FOR THIS
DATE DUE TO THE LACK OF A JANUARY THAW AND PERSISTENT SNOWFALL.
THERE HAS BEEN SEVERAL ARCTIC OUTBREAKS OVER THE PAST COUPLE
WEEKS AND LAKE ONTARIO HAS ENHANCED SNOW AMOUNTS IN THE LOWER
GENESEE BASIN AND FINGER LAKES. IN THESE AREAS WATER EQUIVALENT
VALUES ARE PROBABLY APPROACHING DOUBLE CLIMATOLOGICAL NORMS. SNOW
PACK IS ALSO ABOVE NORMAL IN THE LOWER GENESEE AND ALLEGHENY
BASINS BUT THIS ANOMALY IS LESS PRONOUNCED.

SNOW PACK IS ALSO ABOVE NORMAL ON THE BLACK RIVER BASIN...WITH
WATER EQUIVALENT VALUES ROUGHLY 125 PERCENT OF THE NORMAL VALUE
FOR THIS DATE. IT IS ALSO WORTH NOTING THAT WITH THE PERSISTENT
COLD WEATHER THE SNOW PACK IS MUCH LESS DENSE THEN NORMAL. IT WILL
TAKE A SIGNIFICANT WARM UP TO RIPEN THIS SNOW PACK.

MEANWHILE...THE COLD TEMPERATURES HAVE CAUSED CREEK AND RIVER ICE
TO INCREASE SIGNIFICANTLY DURING THIS TIME. OUTSIDE OF FAST
FLOWING AREAS VIRTUALLY ALL THE CREEKS AND RIVERS ARE FROZEN...WITH
A VERY THICK ICE PACK IN PLACE. ICE EXCEEDS A FOOT IN MANY SLOW
FLOWING AREAS. ALTHOUGH NOT NECESSARILY A HYDROLOGICAL THREAT...IT
IS INTERESTING TO NOTE THAT THERE IS SIGNIFICANT ICE FORMING ON
LAKE ONTARIO AND ON NIAGARA FALLS...BOTH OF WHICH ARE RELATIVELY
RARE EVENTS. IT WILL PROBABLY TAKE MORE THAWING DEGREE HOURS THAN
NORMAL TO BREAK THIS ICE UP...BUT THERE COULD BE SIGNIFICANT ICE
JAMS IF IT DOES GET WARM ENOUGH TO BREAK UP THIS ICE QUICKLY.

THE FOLLOWING IS A SUMMARY OF CONDITIONS AND OUTLOOK BY BASIN AS
OF THURSDAY MORNING ON FEBRUARY 19TH:

...BUFFALO AREA CREEKS / LAKE ERIE BASIN...
.SNOW COVER..........20 TO 30 INCHES.
.WATER EQUIVALENT....4 TO 6 INCHES.
.CREEK FLOWS.........NEAR NORMAL.
.CREEK ICE...........THICK
.GROUND FROST........12 TO 18 INCHES.
.GROUND STATE........FROZEN.

...GENESEE RIVER BASIN / FINGER LAKES / ROCHESTER AREA...
.SNOW COVER..........14 TO 26 INCHES...12 INCHES UPPER GENESEE BASIN.
.WATER EQUIVALENT....2 TO 4 INCHES.
.RIVER/CREEK FLOWS...NEAR NORMAL.
.RIVER/CREEK ICE.....THICK.
.GROUND FROST........12 TO 18 INCHES.
.GROUND STATE........FROZEN.

...ALLEGHENY RIVER BASIN...
.SNOW COVER..........16 TO 24 INCHES.
.WATER EQUIVALENT....2 TO 4 INCHES.
.RIVER/CREEK FLOWS...NEAR NORMAL.
.RIVER CREEK ICE.....THICK.
.GROUND FROST........12 TO 18 INCHES.
.GROUND STATE........FROZEN.

...BLACK RIVER BASINS / TUG HILL...
.SNOW COVER..........24 TO 36 INCHES.
.WATER EQUIVALENT....4 TO 6 INCHES...6 TO 9 INCHES ON THE TUG HILL.
.RIVER/CREEK FLOWS...NEAR NORMAL.
.RIVER/CREEK ICE.....THICK.
.GROUND FROST........ABOUT 24 INCHES.
.GROUND STATE........FROZEN.

...TEMPERATURE AND PRECIPITATION OUTLOOK...
MODEL GUIDANCE CONTINUES TO SUGGEST THAT THE COLD PATTERN WILL
CONTINUE AT LEAST THROUGH THE END OF FEBRUARY. THE 8 TO 14 DAY
OUTLOOK FORECASTS BELOW NORMAL TEMPERATURES...WITH A PERSISTENT
AND MORE BROAD TROUGH ACROSS THE EASTERN HALF OF THE UNITED STATES.

LOW PRESSURE IS FORECAST TO LIFT UP THE TENNESSEE VALLEY THIS
WEEKEND WHICH WILL BRING A SLUG OF MOISTURE TO OUR REGION. IT IS
UNCLEAR IF THIS WILL FALL AS ALL SNOW OR MIXED PRECIPITATION...BUT
WHATEVER THE CASE IT APPEARS THIS WILL ONLY ADD TO SNOW PACK WITH
ANY BRIEF RISE ABOVE FREEZING NOT EVEN CLOSE TO ENOUGH TO RIPEN
THE SIGNIFICANT SNOW PACK.

AFTER THIS THERE IS HIGH CONFIDENCE IN BELOW NORMAL TEMPERATURES
FOR NEXT WEEK. A STRONG MODEL CONSENSUS CONTINUES TO KEEP A
TROUGH ACROSS THE REGION WHICH WILL CONTINUE TO BRING PERIODIC
SHOTS OF ARCTIC AIR. INCREASING ICE ON LAKE ONTARIO WILL SOMEWHAT
MUTE THE LAKE EFFECT SNOW...BUT THERE STILL IS A CHANCE THAT A
SYNOPTIC SYSTEM OR TWO WILL BRING MORE SNOW WHICH COULD ADD TO THE
SNOW PACK.

THERE IS SOME INDICATION THAT THE STRONG RIDGE IN THE WEST WILL
START TO BREAK DOWN IN EARLY MARCH...HOWEVER THIS IS LIKELY TO
TAKE TIME AND MAY NOT OCCUR UNTIL MUCH LATER. GIVEN THE PERSISTENCE
OF THE PATTERN...AND CONSISTENCY AMONG MODEL GUIDANCE...THERE IS
ABOVE AVERAGE FORECAST CONFIDENCE. FORECAST CONFIDENCE TENDS TO
DIMINISH WITH TIME AND THERE STILL IS A SMALL CHANCE A PATTERN
SHIFT EARLY MARCH TOWARD THE END OF THE OUTLOOK PERIOD. THIS
WOULD LEAVE A VERY SMALL CHANCE FOR A WARMER TRACKING SYSTEM...BUT
BY FAR THE MOST LIKELY SCENARIO IS THAT THE REGION WILL REMAIN IN
COLD PATTEN THROUGHOUT THE PERIOD.

...FLOOD POTENTIAL OUTLOOK...
THERE IS BELOW NORMAL FLOOD RISK FOR THE NEXT TWO WEEKS THROUGH
MARCH 5TH. THIS CONCLUSION IS HEAVILY BASED ON THE FORECAST FOR
CONTINUED COLD WEATHER...SINCE SNOW PACK IS SIGNIFICANTLY ABOVE
NORMAL. HOWEVER...GIVEN THE LIKELIHOOD THAT TEMPERATURES WILL
REMAIN MOSTLY BELOW FREEZING THROUGH THE PERIOD...THIS POTENTIAL
IS NOT LIKELY TO BE REALIZED DURING THE OUTLOOK PERIOD THROUGH
MARCH 5TH. ANOTHER FACTOR IS THAT THE SNOW PACK IS NOT RIPE...SO
IT WOULD TAKE A SIGNIFICANT AND PROLONGED WARM UP TO CAUSE
FLOODING. IT IS ALWAYS IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT ALTHOUGH THE
PATTERN IS NOT FAVORABLE FOR A HEAVY RAIN EVENT...THERE IS A VERY
SMALL CHANCE THAT ONE SYSTEM WILL TAKE A WARM TRACK DURING THE
LATTER PORTION OF THE TIME PERIOD.

ALTHOUGH THERE IS A BELOW NORMAL FLOOD RISK IN THE SHORT
TERM...THE SIGNIFICANTLY ABOVE NORMAL SNOW PACK SUGGESTS THAT ONCE
TEMPERATURES DO WARM THERE WILL EVENTUALLY BE AN ABOVE NORMAL
FLOOD RISK. THE PATTERN FORECAST FOR THE NEXT TWO WEEKS IS LIKELY
TO ADD TO THIS SNOW PACK AND WATER EQUIVALENT VALUES THROUGH
EARLY MARCH. WHILE THIS DOES NOT POSE AN IMMEDIATE THREAT AS LONG
AS IT REMAINS COLD...IT DOES BEAR WATCHING HEADING INTO SPRING.

...ADDITIONAL INFORMATION...

REAL TIME RIVER INFORMATION AND PROBABILISTIC FORECASTS FOR
SPECIFIC LOCATIONS ALONG RIVERS ACROSS WESTERN NEW YORK CAN BE
FOUND ON THE INTERNET AT WWW.WEATHER.GOV/BUF BY CLICKING ON THE
RIVERS AND LAKES AHPS LINK ON THE LEFT SIDE OF THE PAGE. SINCE
CONDITIONS CAN CHANGE PLEASE REFER TO THE LATEST FLOOD
WARNINGS...WATCHES...AND STATEMENTS FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION.

THE NEXT SCHEDULED OUTLOOK WILL BE ISSUED ON MARCH 5TH. THANKS TO
ALL THE OBSERVERS AND AGENCIES WHICH HAVE HELPED GATHER DATA IN
SUPPORT OF THIS OUTLOOK.

$$

APFFEL





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