What a difference a year makes. At this writing last year we were lamenting the continuous snowstorms that came in March – in fact during just the first 2 ½ weeks of March last year we received 43 inches of snow!
This year was very different; and thanks to the two beautiful spring-like days last Thursday and Friday – I heard a robin singing sweetly in the tree as the sun rose on Friday - the bright sun helped to melt quite a bit of snow, especially in the fields and southern slopes. We even saw a hardy angler trying his luck in the Willowemoc No-Kill Special Regulations area.
We dodged a bullet the end of last week when the predicted rainstorms fizzled out and we were left with basically sunny, breezy days. The river was filled with ‘snow water’, almost bank-full and discolored, and heavy rains would most likely have caused some flooding. The Beaverkill at Cooks Falls peaked on Friday night at just over 1300 cubic feet per second, well above the 103-year average flow of 500 cfs on that date.
On Monday morning, March 18, the USGS website showed that the Beaverkill at Cooks Falls was flowing at 513 cubic feet per second, which is below the average flow for this date of 612 cfs based on 103 years of record-keeping. The minimum flow recorded was 64 cfs in 1931, and the maximum was 12,700 cubic feet per second in 1936.
And although water temperatures this past week were at the freezing point on three mornings, they rose to a high of 42 degrees on Thursday afternoon.
A check of the NYC Catskill reservoirs on March 18, 2019 showed that the current capacity is 92.0 percent full; the ‘normal’ capacity for March 18 is 94% full. In checking the comparison of average precipitation, the amount for January, February and March of this year was 8.37 inches - higher than the historical average for those months of 7.36 inches of precipitation.