The new year started with below average temperatures and until the first week of February, the Twin Tiers experienced some very cold weather. Most may be sick of the cold, ice, and snow by this point, but we still have two more months of winter. However, this past weekend felt like anything but winter. It was a nice little vacation from the frigid cold that we experienced just a few days earlier. Temperatures climbed to the mid 40’s for daytime highs. Earlier in the week, daytime highs struggled to reach the mid teens. A new record was hit at the Greater Binghamton Airport on Sunday. The previous record was 45 degrees in 2002. We barely achieved a new record by climbing to 46 degrees. By the way, 46 degrees occurred at 2 am. There is the potential to hit another record this coming Wednesday. Temperatures are forecast to be in the upper 50’s. The record for Wednesday at the Airport is 54 which occurred in 1999. The record high for the month of February as a whole is 66 which occurred on February 16th in 1954. While it does not appear that we will be getting that warm it is not out of the question to see some locations possibly hit 57-60 degrees.
Warm weather through winter months puts a smile on some people’s faces, but it can also cause problems. A warm, moist southerly flow will develop in front of a low pressure system on Tuesday afternoon. As temperatures rise significantly on Tuesday and Wednesday, there will be considerable amounts of snow melt and runoff into rivers and creeks. We will receive some rainfall through this period as the low pressure system passes, but amounts are only looking to be .25”. However, from all of the runoff and snow melt, and extra inch and a half of water may be added to river levels. The good news is that river levels are rather low so any added water will not pose any major flooding threats. Only a minor flood stage could be reached at some of the smaller creeks and rivers. But, some rivers to the North of Binghamton do have significant ice coverage. This can cause another problem known as ice jams. When frozen rivers swell due to an increase in runoff, the ice layer on top of rivers often break into large chunks, float downstream, and pile up at narrow passages. The buildup can sometimes become great enough to dam the river and cause flooding.
Right now, the biggest threat of an ice jam would be on the Chenango River where 90% of the river is covered with ice through Chenango Forks and Chenango Bridge. Any flooding would be minor and with temperatures rapidly rising, it is the hope that most of the ice will melt and become frail before it can cause any jams. There have been reports of ice jams through Northern Erie and Buffalo in Western New York State. Because of these jams, there is a flash flood watch in effect through Thursday. If you live near a creek or river keep it here for updates on possible minor flooding.