Flooding Event - July 28th, 2014

Rain Storm and Subsequent Flooding Experienced by Ontario County on July 28th, 2014

Many Western New York residents awoke to a rather startling emergency alert on their phones/mobile
devices in the wee hours of the morning on Monday, July 28th. While residents took to social media
to share their displeasure regarding their abrupt awakening, the National Weather Service had issued
a severe weather warning which would prove crucial as the day went on.

Meteorological Aspects (For Those who are Interested)

* Click image(s) to view larger version

The meteorological ingredients were in place to facilitate a heavy rain event. A strong low pressure
system had moved into the region over night (left image). This low pressure system coincided with
an area of strong positive vorticity. Vorticity is a measure of the localized rotation of air. The advection
of vorticity at high levels in the atmosphere will result in a response at the surface which will attempt to
offset the effects of the advection. In layman's terms, the lower the pressure at the surface, the higher (more positive) the vorticity in the upper levels of the atmosphere. Vorticity is best viewed at the 500 millibar (mb) level. The image to the right indicates the positive vorticity (deeper yellows and orange) over our region during this event. Positive vorticity usually involves stronger winds and unstable conditions, which were present on this day.
Surface Fronts
The jet stream was also strong during this event. As you can see from the 300 mb map below (left), the area of light blue indicates the strongest portion of the jet stream. The surface low which caused the rain event developed in the northeast quadrant of the trough (dip in the jet stream), which is typical of low pressure development. The other image below (right) is a corresponding map indicating strong wind vectors over our region associated with the jet stream.
Jet Stream
Wind Vectors

Below (left) is a series of radar images showing the intensity, and longevity, of this rain event. The first slide is at midnight while the last slide is at 5pm when the storm moved out of the region. The map below (right) indicates the rainfall totals over a 24 hour period. As you can see, certain areas received upwards of 6 inches of rain.

Ontario County: During the Flooding Event
The hardworking members of the Publics Works Department were out in full force during the storm. The Highway Department, Sewer Department, and county engineers closely monitored roads, culverts, bridges and sewer systems to assess conditions and report damage. The following pictures are just a few examples of the flooding experienced.
Please click here to view a full photo album of pictures from the storm.
Debris Clog
Honeoye Plant

Local News and Reaction After the Storm

The Town of Richmond was one of the more significantly affected areas. One resident had just secured a building permit to construct a new insurance office. According to this resident, "The creek has been an issue for 10 or 15 years. It used to flood every 10 years or so and this year, it's flooded twice already. We are hoping we would get through the building process before the next flood and obviously it didn't work so well." (full article). These sentiments were felt by many residents as this was the second major rain event of the summer. In parts of Richmond, 5 inches of rain had already fallen by 11:00am.

Richmond FloodingJeff Harloff, Ontario County Emergency Management Director, said several roads remain closed for many days due to the washouts and a Red Cross shelter was briefly opened to provide assistance. Ontario County Sheriff Phil Povero estimated $85,000 worth of damage to the Honeoye area. He also stated that a boating advisory would be in place for both Canandaigua and Honeoye Lakes as entire trees had washed into the lakes in some cases. By the end of the rain event, water in Honeoye lake had risen an impressive 1.5 feet (full article). Along with road washouts and pipe damage, residents also dealt with flooded basements and damage to their property. One accident was reported in the town of Manchester but fortunately the passengers suffered only minor injuries.