Too much water.

For this week, the flood watches are posted everywhere, as once again we face a deluge… this time with water levels running high, and the ground waterlogged. An inch or two of rain in a short time can cause a serious issue in the local area.

Of course this will happen on a Friday, with both high winds and rain extending into the evening… and on Friday evenings, I’m in a classroom with no windows to see what’s happening outside. Luckily, the classroom building is on fairly high ground. In fact, the college is on comparatively high ground for the area. But it’s surrounded by rivers and creeks.

Over the years, the weather circus has become somewhat more adept at figuring out when we’re likely to have an excess of water. The area is permeated with stream level indicators, which generally update every 30 to 60 minutes (to several websites).

For this reference post, I’m linking to the National Weather Service Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service.

Take the link and you’ll get to a map, with lots of little points marked. Circular points have more data than the others, and the color of the points will tell you if everything is fine (green), with yellow being the warning, red being serious danger and purple… you don’t want to be anywhere near a purple indicator. (In September 1999 the whole page was purple from the effects of Floyd).

For my purposes, I’m interested in a handful of points, starting with the Burnt Mills location. If this gets above 10 feet, I’m going to have to go home a different way. So the next one of interest is North Branch Village. If this goes over 10 feet, the next step is to head east on Rt 22, then up 202/206. Bleh.

For students headed home to the west, if the Whitehouse gauge gets over 6 feet, Rt 22 begins to flood west of CR 523 (near the old Merck hq).

Heading south to Hillsborough, southeast to Bound Brook, or via Manville and River Road (bad idea in a flood watch!), the gauges linked in this paragraph are the ones to monitor.

Note that several of these sites attempt to forecast how high the water will get – take this with a very large cup of salt (a grain is nowhere near enough!). Be sure to check the time of update – sometimes these gizmos fail, right when they’re most needed.

Wonder where I put the rain hat?


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