The National Weather Service has confirmed what just about everyone in Western New York has already suspected: December 1990 will go down in history as the wettest December on record.
With flood waters closing or even washing out some area roads and many streams dangerously approaching flood stage, meteorologist Judy Levan said the old record of 8.55 inches set in 1878 was broken early Sunday evening.
"The total as of 10 p.m. (Sunday) is 8.68 inches," she said. "It's a record-breaking month."
"We're considering this the year of the duck," added meteorologist Tom Niziol.
Ms. Levan said that Sunday also proved to be the wettest Dec. 30 on record, with 1.49 inches of rain reported at the weather station at Greater Buffalo International Airport. The new reading just squeaked by the old record of 1.46 inches set in 1942.
That follows on the heels of the wettest Dec. 29, inked into the record books Saturday with 1.36 inches, eclipsing the old mark of 1.34 inches set in 1915.
How wet was it?
"Our normal precipitation is about 3.42 inches for December," Ms. Levan said, explaining that despite the onset of some colder temperatures, flood warnings for the area will remain in effect through at least part of today.
"We're still going to get some runoff and some melting," she said. "By late Monday we'll probably drop the warning, but for now, we're going to keep them up."
While rainfall has made December a month for the record books, snowfall has been downright stingy. Even though the area enjoyed a white Christmas, Ms. Levan said snowfall has been measured at only 14.7 inches -- well below the normal 22.8 inches.
That figure is also far below the snowiest December ever in 1985, when the area shoveled from under 68.4 inches of snow.
All the water falling from the skies over the past few days began to cause serious flooding problems Sunday.
In the Genesee County Town of Alexander, at least three roads were closed because of high water in Tonawanda Creek. The roadways included Old Creek Road and Cookson Road.
State Police at Boston reported that Eckhardt Road in the North Boston area of the Town of Boston was closed because of rising waters in Eighteen Mile Creek.
Cattaraugus County deputies reported some road closings around Olean and that a portion of Mutton Hollow Road in Great Valley had washed out.
And Buffalo Police late Sunday closed the inbound Skyway and were advising outbound motorists to avoid it because it was "freezing up."
The flood threat is expected to subside with the colder temperatures now gripping upstate New York. Today's forecast calls for a mix of sunshine and clouds along with scattered flurries, Ms. Levan said, with a high between 20 and 25 degrees.
The overnight snow accumulation was expected to be between two and four inches, she added, with more scattered flurries and a high of around 35 degrees on New Year's Day.