For the second month in a row the Hudson River was the big story, as April 2011 will long be remembered as the month of the big flood. In March, it was a large ice jam that was the center of attention. That produced a very high gauge reading of 12.19 feet, which seemed like a new record only to have it easily eclipsed by a reading of 13.65 feet April 28. A combination of heavy warm rains and significant snow melt created the perfect storm for record high water. This is certainly one month that many will never forget.
The average high temperature was 52 degrees and the average low was 32.4 degrees, giving us an average of 42.2 degrees, only .6 degrees less than normal. The month seemed much colder than normal as snow was so often seen, but warmer temperatures near the end of the month pulled up the average. This was the seventh consecutive month with below normal temperatures. The highest temperature of 76 degrees was recorded April 28 and the lowest temperature of 19 degrees was recorded April 7.
Melted precipitation for the month was 6.72 inches - 3.00 inches above normal and the third most on record. The wettest April was in 2005 when 7.58 inches was recorded and the driest was in 1999 when only .63 inches fell. Our seasonal total is now 18.43 inches - 6.02 inches above normal. April is the second month in a row with over six inches of rain. There was measurable precipitation on 21 days with the greatest amount of 2.23 inches falling on the April 26.
Snowfall was only 1.5 inches, which was 2.6 inches below normal. However, there was a period of time from April 17 -24 when it snowed for six of the eight days with only a trace amount here in Riparius but measurable amounts in other parts of town. Our seasonal total is now 92.8 inches, which is 14.3 inches above the normal of 78.5 inches.
The river produced the big story of the month as it rose to record breaking height on April 28 of 13.65 feet, breaking the old mark of 12.14 feet reached Dec. 31, 1948. The river reached flood stage of 10 feet at 1:15 a.m. April 27 and remained at flood stage until 8:15 a.m. April 30. The river had appeared to crest at 11:30 a.m. April 27 at a height of 12 feet and then began to recede until 3: 30 a.m. April 28 when it began to rise again. It continued to rise all day April 28 until it reached an unprecedented level of 13.65 feet at 10:30 p.m. in the evening. This produced a rate of flow of 36,200 cubic feet per second or almost 290,000 gallons per second. Here in Riparius the old Methodist campground was flooded for the first time in memory with water entering seven of the camps and washing out a large part of the town road that passes through the grounds. Only a few more inches and all of the camps would have sustained considerable damage. The campground road was closed from April 28 until May 3 when town highway crews could make the road passable to traffic. This flood will not soon be forgotten by those of us who watched nervously as it inched upward to set the new record height.