Heavy rains drench Southern Tier

May 21, 2014

Several roads are closed in Chautauqua County this morning after a band of thunderstorms poured heavy rains onto the region overnight. The National Weather Service has issued a Flash Flood Watch through 8pm for Allegany, Cattaraugus and Chautauqua Counties.

"We've had reports on the order of two-and-a-half to three-and-a-half maybe even some reports higher than three-and-a-half inches (of rain) in a three or even a six-hour period," said meteorologist Dave Zaff.

"That type of  rainfall in such a short period of time generally produces quite a bit of river and stream flooding. A lot of creeks that are normally dry are running quite high at this point."

The worst of the wet weather is over for the region, though another burst of thunderstorms is possible later this afternoon. The intensity is unlikely to match that experienced earlier today in an event that Zaff says is highly unusual.

"So the thunderstorms themselves move off to the south and east but more form on the back edge. So what appears to be over a long period of time is a continuous-- we call it 'training'---continuous train of showers and thunderstorms over one location."