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Area gets rain, no flooding from passing remnants of Rita

The remnants of Hurricane Rita, which passed through the region Monday with a threat of flooding, accomplished little more than bringing a rare rainy day to Buffalo and Western New York.

When all was said and done late Monday night, several areas both north of Buffalo and in the Southern Tier reported areas of 2 or more inches of rain over a two-day period. But because of the arid summer, no significant flooding was reported, the National Weather Service said.

The frontal system that passed through the region Sunday brought heavy showers and thunderstorms mostly north of Buffalo, while the remnants of Rita passed mostly south of Erie County on Monday.

"We kind of dodged a bullet," said Steve McLaughlin, National Weather Service meteorologist. "If we had gotten the rain we thought we'd get from Rita, we'd have had a lot of problems."

Lockport recorded the highest rainfall total for Sunday and Monday, a total of 3.8 inches. Amherst, Kenmore and North Buffalo received 3.5 inches.

Other totals were North Tonawanda, 3.21; Town of Tonawanda, 3.2; Middleport, 3.1; Buffalo waterfront, 2.9; Buffalo-Niagara International Airport in Cheektowaga, 2.54; Batavia, 2.1; Lancaster, 1.99; Jamestown, 1.73; Olean, 1.82; and Hamburg, 0.98.

The lowest reported rainfall in the area was Dunkirk, at less than half an inch. Southern Erie and northern Chautauqua County escaped much of Sunday and Monday's rain.

The National Weather Service issued a flood watch from 6 a.m. Monday through the afternoon.

Sunday's rain, however, was enough to set a record for precipitation on that date.

The National Weather Service recorded 1.47 inches of rain from 9 p.m. to midnight Sunday at its Cheektowaga office, eclipsing the old record of 1.09 inches.

McLaughlin said today and Wednesday are expected to be "beautiful days," with temperatures continuing to be "above normal." Monday was the 32nd consecutive day of above-normal temperatures, with a high of 72 degrees, 5 degrees above the average this time of year.

The forecast calls for high temperatures of 69 degrees today and 75 degrees Wednesday.

The streak is expected to end Thursday with rain and a forecasted high only in the upper 50s.

e-mail: tpignataro@buffnews.com

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