Monday, February 22, 2010

Army Corps Ready for Flooding

Local Army Corps of Engineers officials say they will update state and local emergency agencies on the status of waterways in the region when the record February snowfall begins to melt.

Chief of the Readiness Office T.J. Fichera says the Corps communicates with the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, the National Weather Service, and county emergency agencies to prepare for possible floods.

Fichera says one example of the things they’re telling these agencies is that certain high-altitude reservoirs like the Youghiogheny, Tiger, and Stonewall Jackson Reservoirs have the capacity to take in a good deal of snowmelt because of their elevation.

Chief of the Corps’ Water Management Branch Werner Loehlein says we have yet to see a significant snowmelt, meaning that most of the water stored in the snowfall is still there.

Loehlein says the snow only looks like it has melted because sunshine melts the top layer, which compacts the snow beneath it.

The hydrologist says there is still potential for flooding, especially if temperatures rise quickly and it also rains. He says the Monongahela River’s tributaries are at the most risk, including the Youghiogheny and Cheat Rivers.

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