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Severe weather strikes central, northern New York

New York National Guard
via Flickr

As heavy rains continue to fall across much of New York, portions of the state have experienced flash flooding and rapidly rising rivers. Towns throughout central and northern New York are reporting rainfall ranging from a few to several inches. The village of Earlville, which straddles the Madison and Chenango County borders, reported receiving more than six inches by mid-morning.

According to Aaron Reynolds, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Buffalo, the rain is showing little sign of letting up.

"In this event, we've been sitting on a persistent trough and we've had several disturbances that have moved through the area," Reynolds said. "There's a lot of ground moisture, and hence, when you get a very slow moving system that moves across the area with lots of moisture and as it moves slowly across, it puts down a lot of precipitation and also a lot of heavier showers and thunderstorms."

A 125-mile section of the Erie Canal stretching from the capitol region to Oneida County was closed because of rising water. In Herkimer County, the New York State Thruway was reduced to one lane between Herkimer and Little Falls at one point, because the Mohawk River overflowed.

Reynolds says the recent rainfall adds to an unusually wet year so far.

"This spring was really wet," Reynolds said. "We had a period there where we dried out, but it wasn't enough that we wouldn't cause any flash flooding."

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has issued a disaster declaration for several counties, including Madison, Oneida and Herkimer because of the severe weather. Sen. Charles Schumer said in a release that he will "fight for any available federal support to help families and business owners rebuild and recover after the flood waters pass."

Cong. Richard Hanna also released a statement, saying, “I have been in touch with local, state and federal officials and am committed to working with these partners to ensure our communities receive the aid and assistance necessary to recover as quickly as possible."