Major Late Season Nor'easter (Excessive Rain Event)
A classic Nor'easter, somewhat unusual, but not unprecedented for June, developed along the New Jersey coast during the afternoon of Tuesday, June 6 and slowly moved south of Nantucket, MA through the night. Gusty wind and uninterrupted moderate to heavy rain fell across all of eastern New York and western New England through the morning, afternoon, and well into the night. In fact the steady rain did not end until about 2:00am on Wednesday, June 7. Rainfall amounts ranged between two and an amazing six inches from the Schoharie valley east into the Capital Region and Berkshire county, south through the Catskills, Hudson valley, and Litchfield county Connecticut. A new twenty four hour rainfall record for June 6 was established at Albany after 3.30" of rain fell, breaking the old record for June 6 set back in 1883 of 2.95". Some downsloping was evident in Washington and Bennington counties where rainfall amounts were lower between and inch and two and a half inches in general. A sharp cut-off to the rain existed through the storm along a Utica to Binghamton line. West of the line very little rain fell. Flooding developed along the Schoharie, Catskill, and Esopus creeks as well as the Norman's Kill creek during the evening and continued into the night. Widespread small stream and urban flooding occurred throughout Schoharie, Albany, Saratoga, Schenectady, Columbia, Delaware, Greene, and Ulster counties during the late afternoon and nighttime hours. Had this storm occurred in February, a conservative one to two feet of snow would likely have accumulated region wide with even higher amounts in the higher elevations of the Catskills and Berkshires.
North to northeast surface winds in the valleys gusted to between 20 and 25 mph and funneled very chilly air into the region. Winds gusted more out of an easterly direction to 30 mph at higher elevations in response to the intensifying circulation around the deepening low south of New England. There were reports of downed trees in the higher elevations of Delaware county, the result of the saturated ground and gusty wind. The high temperature at Albany was 53 degrees establishing a new record low maximum temperature breaking the old record of 58 which was set in 1982.
The storm developed out of the mean jet stream pattern which for all intense and purposes dominated Northeast weather through the spring. A recurring low pressure trough along the Appalachians and east coast re-established itself on Sunday, June 4 and allowed a strong low pressure system aloft to travel through the Great Lakes States on Monday, June 5, and finally through New York and Pennsylvania on Tuesday, June 6. The upper low supported a weak surface storm which traveled through the Ohio valley on the 5th which produced light rain from Ohio to the Capital Region on Monday. As the upper level low pressure system moved closer to the coast on Tuesday, driving cold air aloft to the coast and thus intensifying a temperature gradient, a new storm formed off of New Jersey and took the classic Nor'easter track south of New England. The storm, after forming during the early afternoon on the 6th intensified an already established flow of moisture into eastern New York and New England. Light rain had been falling intermittently on Monday and Monday night but became moderate to heavy and continuous Tuesday Morning with the intensification of the Atlantic moist inflow. Lifting the moist air was a combination of the upper level low pressure system, considered in meteorology to be something called dynamic support, and the overrunning of rather tropical air, originating over the gulf stream, of the cold air in place over the Northeast. When an overrunning process and dynamic lifting process coincide in the atmosphere it forces the air to ascend very strongly. As moisture laden air ascends, the moisture condenses out to form clouds and rain. In this case, the moisture source was very rich and atmospheric lifting mechanisms quite strong, resulting in the unusual long duration uninterrupted period of moderate to heavy rain. The rather slow motion of the storm system also contributed to the greater than 14 hour period of steady rain.
The system moved out of the Northeast during the pre-dawn hours on Wednesday the 7th allowing high pressure to gradually build in from the Ohio valley and begin the drying out and warming process. Sunshine returned on the 7th with temperatures rising to a high around 70.
The table below is a listing of Channel 6's exclusive WeatherNet 6 weather watcher and National Weather Service cooperative observer storm rainfall totals for this fairly rare early June Nor'easter. Counties are alphabetized, towns are not.