Flood watches in effect across the Catskills

A mix of heavy rains in the forecast, late-spring snow still clinging to mountain slopes, and still-frozen ground could be a recipe for flash flooding in the Catskills region Saturday night through Monday, forecasters warn. 

Heavy rain is expected to move into the region late Saturday, and continue through Sunday. Hudson Valley Weather is predicting two to three inches of rain across the Catskills and Hudson Valley

In addition to runoff from snowmelt at the higher elevations, the rains will break up ice on rivers and streams, raising the possibility of ice jams in some areas. Risk of flooding from ice jams will be greatest late Saturday evening and Sunday, NWS Albany warns in an announcement of a flood watch across the eastern Catskills and Capital Region. The western Catskills are also under flood watch, NWS Binghamton announced Saturday. 

Major rivers and streams in the area whose flows are tracked by USGS stream gauges are not expected to rise above flood stage, with a few exceptions: The West Branch at Walton, Rondout Creek at Rosendale and the Wallkill at Gardiner are expected to hit minor flood stage.

Ulster County Emergency Services is keeping a close eye on the weather, and warns residents to be alert. Communications director Art Snyder writes on the department's blog:

Poor drainage areas will be the first to feel the effects of the storm, but the factors above all indicate we MAY face widespread issues with flooding during the overnight on Saturday through perhaps Monday (depending on how quickly the storm moves away). Please monitor conditions throughout the weekend as conditions change.