Dry Summer Means Tri-state Region’s Rainfall Causes Little
1 November 2012
By Rick Wills
The huge storm that ravaged much of the Jersey Shore and crippled
New York City for days was mostly kind to the tri-state region,
where a dry summer left reservoirs lower than normal.
The week’s rain raised low rivers and soaked dry ground and
forests, but there’s been relatively little of the flooding many
“In this area, it was a pretty dispersed rainfall, and it brought
water levels up in a number of our reservoirs. It’s much-needed
rain,” said Jeff Hawk, a spokesman for the Army Corps of Engineers
The effect of the rainfall was evident most dramatically in
Youghiogheny River Lake, a flood-control reservoir in Fayette
County and western Maryland, where the reservoir was 25 feet below
the winter pool. Hawk said the precipitation could raise the water
level by 10 feet or so.
Five other reservoirs connected to the Pittsburgh region had
significantly low water. The rain raised the Berlin, Kirwin,
Mosquito and Creek Lake reservoirs — all in northeast Ohio — and
the Shenango Reservoir, which straddles Mercer County and Ohio.
All feed into the Beaver River, an Ohio River tributary.
“What caused our weather (Hurricane Sandy) was unusual. The
weather itself was not particularly extreme,” said Lee Hendricks,
a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Moon.
From Saturday through Thursday afternoon, 4.19 inches of rain fell
at the weather service’s offices. October rainfall at Pittsburgh
International Airport was 4.44 inches, or 2.15 inches above
The highest 24-hour rainfall for Pittsburgh was on Sept. 17, 2004,
when the remnants of Hurricane Ivan dumped 5.95 inches of rain,
causing widespread flooding.
Tuesday’s total of 1.72 inches was a record for Oct. 30, breaking
the mark of 1.19 inches set in 1973.
Rainfall Monday night through Tuesday night was the week’s
heaviest, although totals varied widely across the region. From 6
p.m. Monday to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Connellsville received 4.02 inches
of rain while Tionesta, Forest County, got 1.31 inches. In
Farmington, Fayette County, 11.8 inches of snow followed the rain.
Yet there was no major flooding in Western Pennsylvania. In
Downtown Pittsburgh, the Ohio River crested at 18.4 feet, high
enough to close the Mon Wharf parking lot for part of the week,
but below the 22 feet at which the 10th Street Bypass floods and
the 25 feet at which the Point floods.
“July and August were very dry months. The ground and the rivers
were able to take in a lot of this rain,” Hendricks said.
To many, what’s more notable than rainfall is the lack of sun,
which last shone in Pittsburgh on Oct. 25. The sun might shine
briefly on Saturday, but the weather service expects cloudy skies
“The drab weather might have a mild effect on most people’s mood.
A smaller number of people have seasonal affective disorder, which
can be treated with light therapy,” said Anthony Mannarino, a
clinical psychologist and director of the Center for Traumatic
Stress in Children and Adolescents at Allegheny General Hospital
in the North Side.
Rick Wills is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be
reached at 412-320-7944 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.