Black River In Watertown Sees Big Rise In Water Level

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The Black River has seen a dramatic rise in its water level in in Watertown in just two days due to our recent snow melt, heavy rain and then more snow.

On Wednesday shortly after midnight, the gauge location in Watertown showed the river at 3.55 feet.

As of the middle of Friday afternoon, the same location recorded the water had risen to 7.04 feet.

"I imagine the people saw it rise quite dramatically because that's exactly what it did," said Watertown City Water Superintendent Mike Sligar. 

The Hudson River-Black River Regulating District takes daily readings of the river level in Watertown and other areas.

Warmer temperatures and rain earlier this week caused major runoff from the Tug Hill plateau, which empties right into the Black River.

"1,864 square miles is what the U.S.G.S. - the United States Geological Survey - calculates the drainage area to be at the point by the time it reaches the city of Watertown," said Mike Clark of the Hudson River-Black River Regulating District.

Flood stage for the Black River in Watertown is 10 feet, so there's no immediate danger with the cuttent amount of water.

So for now, Watertown will enjoy the higher levels while they last.

"The city of Watertown does own, operate and maintain a hydroelectric plan. And water coming down as hard as it is, the city is making electricity," said Sligar.

The river is expected to crest Saturday evening at 8.5 feet before subsiding.

"Given what the temperatures are forecast to be, I think you could expect that flow rate will continue to drop," said Clark.

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Friday, November 21, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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