Monday, September 27, 2010

Rainy times in Vermont

Rainy times have come to Vermont.  After a relatively dry late summer, fall is arriving, and is bringing copious rain.  As I type this it is raining outside, and it has been for most of the day.  It will be raining on and off for much of the rest of the week too, and if some computer models are correct, it could be very rainy indeed.


The colorful map above shows a computer model forecast for a 60 hour rainfall total ending next Saturday.  Note that this does not even include the continuing storm that has already dropped a third of an inch and will probably exit the state after depositing about an inch and a half of rain.  This would mean about five inches of rain in one week.  This is one computer model, not a weather forecast in and of itself.  Meteorologists use several weather models, plus satellite images, radar, and personal experience, to forecast weather.  However, this model at least shows us that there is a good chance of some heavy rain in Vermont this week.  Right now it looks like it would pass fairly close to Pittsburgh as well, so if the model is a bit off, Pittsburgh could get drenched as well.

It has been fairly dry in Vermont, so large-scale flooding seems unlikely.  Flooding of small streams would definitely be a possibility, though.  Either way Sam will probably need to hold on to his umbrella.


Heavy rains after a period of dry weather are one of the times when rain gardens and bioswales are most effective.  Since the ground is relatively dry, it soaks up water that would otherwise pour into sewers and storm drains.  I recently found this bioswale near the waterfront in Burlington:
Lake Swale
This is a bit hard to see with the shadows in this picture, but it is a rather long bioswale which allows water from a rooftop to flow through a small creekbed before going down the drain.  It reduces runoff into nearby Lake Champlain and also offers a pleasant little stream that flows during and immediately after rains.

I also found another bioswale on the University of Vermont campus:
UVM Bioswale
This one is fairly small but at least it allows the water some chance to soak in, and gives students something to look at as they rush between classes during downpours.

Both of these are probably full of water right now and if forecasts are correct, they will be doing their jobs all week.  Hopefully I can get out and take some photos.  I was also in New York City last weekend, and visited some really neat parks I hope to post about soon, so check back here for more details!

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