Rain, warmer temps could mean flooding for parts of NJ
First we had the big blizzard, and ever since then we’ve been dealing with the big melt-down. Now, however, with rain in the forecast and temperatures expected to climb up into the 60s Wednesday, there’s an elevated threat of some flooding problems.
“We do need to keep an eye on the major rivers in Central and Northern New Jersey, especially the Raritan and the Passaic rivers and their tributaries, because some of the heaviest snows of the blizzard fell in the headwaters areas of both the Raritan and the Passaic,” said New Jersey state climatologist at Rutgers University Dave Robinson.
He said we’re still looking at an inch-and-a-half to 2 inches sitting in the snow pack.
“If that melts quickly along with the inch to inch and a half of rain expected we could have some scattered minor, perhaps even some moderate flooding.”
Robinson believes the Millstone and Raritan rivers seem most likely to have problems, while there’s less flood potential around the Passaic River.
“Everywhere you look you’re going to see some small streams and areas of poor drainage with water problems. We’ll have to wait till later today into Thursday to see if there is any river flooding. If so it’s not expected to be major, we’d need several inches more rain to make that happen," Robinson said.
He also noted we’ve been fortunate that there has been a slow steady melt the past week, “and that has opened things up a bit, but there still is a increased hazard, with all that snow found along many roadways."
According to Robinson, the Delaware River should not be a problem because there was not a tremendous amount of snow in the Delaware basin during the blizzard a week and a half ago.
Ken Otrimski, the deputy coordinator of Somerset County Office of Emergency Management said no severe flooding is expected but they’re watching river levels very closely.
“Most of the gauges right now are looking at minor, where the rivers go over their banks in the low lying areas of Somerset County, especially like Griggstown and Blackwells Mills are our problems,” he said. “Where it actually rains will dictate what problems develop with which rivers, they’re pretty low at this point so they could handle a substantial amount."
He said information about flooding will immediately be put out to the municipal OEMs who would in turn, notify their residents if anything is going to be of major consequences.
“Fortunately the snowpack has been melting slowly to this point so the rivers aren’t elevated right now,” he said. “The rivers should be able to handle the melting snow, it just depends how much rain we get.”