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Weather Service posts flood watch in area

Recent warm weather has taken this March off its track as the second-coldest March in local recorded weather history and dropped it back into fourth place all time.

Today, seasonal temperatures in the upper 40s with rain may also bring floodwaters to parts of the metro Buffalo area but won’t be enough to get the ice boom on Lake Erie opened on time.

The National Weather Service has posted a flood watch for northern Erie County from today through Saturday morning. “Warming temperatures will cause melting and breakup of ice on area creeks with the addition of some rainfall and runoff bringing the potential for rises and jams,” the statement said.

“Ice jamming may cause a backup of water on area creeks, which may bring some flooding along the creek banks,” according to the Weather Service. “Ice jams have been reported on but are not limited to Buffalo and Cazenovia creeks south of Buffalo.”

The recent trend toward more seasonal temperatures, however, couldn’t avert a delay in the opening of the ice boom on eastern Lake Erie.

The boom, which was opened March 25 last year, “will be delayed beyond April 1,” according to the International Niagara Board of Control.

Satellite imagery from Wednesday showed the eastern-most basin of the lake along the line from Long Point, Ont. to Erie, Pa. remains about 95 percent ice-covered – an area of about 1,875 square miles.

Current provisions require all floating sections of the boom be opened by April 1 unless there is more than 250 square miles of ice on the eastern part of the lake.

The latest ice boom opening occurred on May 3, 1971.