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Why do flood waters keep rising after the rain stops?

Anytime there is a major flood, like that in the Finger Lakes, Central New York, and Southern Tier following the remnants of Tropical Storm Fred, a common question finds its way to our inbox: Why do flood waters keep rising after the rain stops?

While rainfall totals across the region were impressive- with locations seeing upwards of 4-6 inches of rain over a span of just 36-48 hours, water levels in many flood streams, creeks, and rivers continued to rise after the rain stopped.


That’s because the rain that fell has to make its way to those bodies of water, which takes time. Typically within 48 hours of the rain ending- creeks and streams begin receding. Larger bodies of water with more significant tributary systems can take a bit longer, but the most devastating flooding will usually only last a day or so after the rain stops.

The upside? There isn’t any heavy rain in the forecast for the next two days, which means the entire region can dry out.

Check out the latest forecast information by visiting the FingerLakes1.com Weather Center.



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