Sunday, December 03, 2006

What Do the Himalayas and the Catskills Have in Common?

Flooding, Sullivan County, New York, June 2006

Guardian (uk) (via RawStory):
Nepal's farmers on the front line of global climate change
Himalayan communities face catastrophic floods as weather patterns alter

Khetbari expects a small flood every decade or so, but what shocked the village was that the two largest have taken place in the last three years. According to Mr Tamang, a pattern is emerging. "The floods are coming more severely more frequently. Not only is the rainfall far heavier these days than anyone has ever experienced, it is also coming at different times of the year."

NYTimes, Nov. 28, 2005: Dam at a Catskill Reservoir Needs Emergency Repair, City Says (TimesSelect Wall)

The Schoharie Valley was hit with 100-year-floods in 1955, 1987 and again in 1996, when the Schoharie Reservoir reached its all-time high water level, more than six and a half feet over the top of the dam. A flood in April nearly matched that, and the area was hit with record rainfall in October.

''Seems like we've got 100-year floods coming every nine years now,'' said Fred Risse, a local farmer whose land lies in the flood plain of the Schoharie Creek. ''What happens when we get another?''

TimesHerald Record, June 30, 2006: Dealing with the aftermath

Along the Susquehanna in Binghamton and Wilkes-Barre, Pa., the deluge was severe. And here in northern Sullivan County the it was the worst anyone could recall. In fact, one early assessment suggested the Upper Delaware Valley had witnessed the kind of flooding thought to occur only two or three times a millennium.

"This was definitely a record flood," said Ward Freeman, assist director of the U.S. Geological Survey's Weather Science Center in Troy. "In the Delaware, the levels were the highest we've seen since we've been keeping track."

The agency has had gauges along the Delaware for 56 years.

At least one flood gauge posted at the mouth of the Callicoon Creek reported the Delaware had reached its 500-year flood stage.

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