Rain, melting snowpack raise concern for area flooding - The Buffalo News

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Rain, melting snowpack raise concern for area flooding

Rain combined with a quickly melting snowpack will greatly increase the possibility of flooding this evening and into Sunday.

Forecasters also are keeping a watchful eye on the temperature as rain approaches.

While warm air will envelop the lower half our region, a cold front may bring freezing or near-freezing temperatures to the northern half, increasing the chance of freezing rain tonight.

“The rain and moisture on the ground will produce consistent runoff. That is the biggest concern for Saturday. But the other concern is the potential for freezing rain,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Aaron Reynolds.

Warmer air wafting over melting snow in Buffalo Niagara caused widespread fog Friday. “This is very typical when you get rain and warmer air going over a snowpack,” said Jon Hitchcock, also a meteorologist for the Weather Service.

“It’s creating a cloud on the ground.”

The warmer temperatures are expected to continue through the weekend, reaching as high as about 50 degrees Sunday, at least around the Pennsylvania border. Rain is accompanying that warm air mass, which will make for a very wet weekend – and possibly an icy one.

A flood watch has been issued by the Weather Service for Saturday afternoon through Sunday evening. We could pick up one to two inches of rain,” warned Tom Paone, another meteorologist. “The rain itself – that alone is going to cause problems.”

The Weather Service also has in place a winter storm watch for Saturday and Sunday because of the possibility of freezing rain, although forecasters said its occurrence and severity remain uncertain, depending on what happens with temperatures.

If severe, there is concern over damage to trees and power lines, as well as roads made dangerous from ice. Much colder weather will return in time for Christmas, Reynolds said.

email: citydesk@buffnews.com

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