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Flood watch canceled, but creeks and streams still close to spilling over

Creeks and streams were expected to barely stay within their banks across portions of Buffalo Niagara overnight as the result of the widespread heavy rain that fell across the region most of the day Thursday.

A flood watch was canceled late Thursday for all eight counties in Western New York.

A wave of low pressure out of the Ohio Valley pulled some deep moisture through the region for an all-day soaker Thursday. Daily precipitation at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport was 1.38 inches of rain, as of 8 p.m. Thursday. Spotters across the area reported 1.36 inches in Elma; 1.45 inches in Alden; and 2.17 inches in Panama in Chautauqua County as of dinnertime.

“Rivers and streams are still rising,” Jon Hitchcock, meteorologist for the National Weather Service, said Thursday evening. “There’s a bit of a delay while the rain finds its way to the creeks.”

The heaviest of the rain ended by Thursday evening with about another tenth of an inch expected.

The Weather Bureau withdrew its flood watch for Western New York about 10:30 p.m. Forecast models showed Buffalo, Cayuga and Cazenovia creeks cresting late Thursday night. Cayuga Creek in Lancaster was projected to crest to within about six inches of flood stage and some ponding of water was also expected in low-lying areas, he said.

The flood watch was issued at about 9:30 a.m. Thursday, according to Shawn Smith, a weather service meteorologist, who said earlier in the day that forecast models projected up to three inches of rain in some spots.

The rainfall kept the region slightly above average for precipitation in 2013 and well above where it stood a year ago when the drought was “just beginning to take hold,” Hitchcock said.

Scattered showers and patchy morning fog were expected in Buffalo this morning with highs today in the upper 60s. Forecasters said there was a 50/50 chance for some more showers Saturday. Partly sunny conditions were also possible with a high near 70 before sunny and warm conditions take hold Sunday with temperatures in the upper 70s.

Buffalo Niagara was expected to avoid precipitation from Tropical Storm Andrea – the season’s first named tropical storm – which made landfall in Florida on Thursday. It’s expected to trek up the East Coast today, bringing heavy rain to the Middle Atlantic states and then pushing off the coast of New York City on Saturday and the Canadian Maritimes by Sunday.

Hitchcock said Buffalo Niagara might only expect to “catch a little cloud cover” as it passes by well to the east.