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Flooding of December 29, 1984 through January 2, 1985, in northern New York State, with flood profiles of the Black and Salmon rivers

January 1, 1994

Precipitation, snowmelt, and resultant flooding throughout northern New York from December 28 through January 2, 1985, were investigated through a detailed analysis of 56 precipitation stations, 101 stage and/or discharge gaging stations, and 9 miscellaneous measurement sites. Flood damage to property and roads and bridges exceeded $5 million. Lewis and Oswego Counties were declared Federal disaster areas, primarily a result of flooding of the Black River and Salmon River. Storm-precipitation and runoff maps show the storms ' greatest intensity to have been over the Tug Hill and southwest Adirondack areas. Total rainfall from December 28 through January 2 was 6.90 inches at Stillwater Reservoir but only 0.69 inches at Lake Placid. New peak discharges of record occurred at 17 gaging stations throughout northern New York, and the maximum discharge at 17 sites had recurrence intervals equal to or greater than 100 years. Computed inflows to 11 major lakes and reservoirs in northern New York indicate that significant volumes of water (as much as 5 inches of storm runoff at Stillwater Reservoir) were stored during the storm-runoff period. Maximum 1-day flood volumes at two gaging stations on the Black River had recurrence intervals greater than 100 years. To help evaluate the extent of flooding, 67 floodmarks were obtained along a 94-mile reach of the Black River from Dexter to Forestport, and several floodmarks were surveyed within major communities along the Salmon River. The floodmarks were obtained primarily near major bridges and dams along these rivers. (Author 's abstract)