National Water Conditions

U.S. Geological Survey
Environment Canada Climate Information Branch

National Water Conditions Surface Water Conditions Map - September 1996
Provisional data subject to review.

Conditions for the month of September 1996

Southwest Region

Heavy rainfall in Arizona on September 1 and 2 caused widespread flash flooding in and around Tucson. Many rescues were necessary in the flooded washes. Tucson's rainfall for the week of September 1 to 7 totaled 2.60 inches.

On September 8, rainfall in excess of 9 inches caused widespread flash flooding in DeWitt, Gonzales, and Karnes Counties in Texas.

Monsoonal thunderstorms hit Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas the week of September 9 to 12. General rainfall amounts of 3 to 4 inches were common with flash flooding in wash areas. In the Brewster County, Texas, area, 6 inches of rain were reported.

Remnants of Pacific Hurricane Fausto caused widespread thunderstorms and heavy rain across New Mexico, Utah, Texas and Oklahoma from September 13 to 15. Rainfall amounts of 2 to 3 inches were widely reported, and widespread flash flooding resulted. On September 15, Abilene, Texas, reported 3.08 inches of rain. In Carbon County, Utah, flash flooding was significant on the Price River on September 13. US Highway 6 was washed out and temporarily closed.

South Texas was hit with heavy rain on September 18-19. Up to 10 inches fell in Zapata and Jim Hogg Counties. Widespread flash flooding closed highways and forced evacuations. The San Gabriel River was over bank. In about 2 hours on September 20, 5 inches of rain flooded, many streets in Corpus Christi. Rises were reported on Sandies Creek and the Guadalupe River. The San Bernard River also was above flood stage on September 21.

Midwest Region

Heavy thunderstorms on September 1 and 2 hit North Dakota and Minnesota, locally dropping 5 to 6 inches of rain. This rain caused flash flooding and mudslides near Mankato, Minnesota, and Ellendale, North Dakota.

Thunderstorms caused localized flooding in Missouri and Oklahoma from September 23 to 26. Isolated rainfall amounts of more than 5 inches were reported. A truck was reported washed off a road near Hermitage, Missouri. Near Tulsa, Oklahoma, some major flooding occurred on Bird Creek. Four people died in Oklahoma, as a result of flooding; three of them were swept away in a vehicle in Cherokee County. Springfield, Missouri, recorded 5.83 inches of rain, including 3.90 inches on September 26.

New England and New York Region

Hurricane Edouard brushed New England on September 2. Rainfall totals of 6.37 inches and 5.20 inches were measured in West Dennis, and Hyannis, Massachusetts, respectively.

On September 8, heavy rain (4 to 6 inches) caused serious flooding between Milford and Matamoras, New York.

From September 13 to 15, Tonawanda, New York, received more than 5 inches of rain on ground already saturated from Hurricane Fran. More than 30 highways and roads had to be closed because of flash flooding.

Middle Atlantic Region

Heavy rains hit North Carolina and Virginia on September 4 and 5, saturating the ground prior to the arrival of even heavier rains associated with Hurricane Fran. In Greensboro, North Carolina, 5.65 inches of rain was measured before the hurricane. Parts of Virginia also reported 5 to 7 inches of rain. Hurricane Fran made landfall on September 5 in North Carolina and moved inland through Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. On September 5-6 Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, received an all-time record 24-hour rainfall of 9.44 inches. This rainfall caused widespread river flooding over much of the same area that had flooded in January, 1996. Extreme flooding was recorded in the Potomac, the Shenandoah, the James, the Rappahannock, the Roanoke, the Dan, the Tar, the Neuse, and the Haw River Basins. For many sites, this flood was the second 100-year recurrence interval flood this year. Record flood flows and peak stages were recorded on many stations in the Shenandoah River Basin. More information can be found on the North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland-Delaware-District of Columbia District's home pages, and Daily Update on Hurricane Fran's Effect on Virginia's Rivers

Thunderstorms and heavy rains hit the area after Hurricane Fran had moved through on September 8. Joppatown, Maryland, received 6.5 inches of rain in a few hours. New Hanover county, North Carolina, received 5 to 6 inches of rain. Rainfall fell at rates of 2 inches per hour across parts of Virginia. This additional rainfall aggravated the existing flooding. High water persisted until September 20 in North Carolina along the Neuse River.

New record maximum September mean monthly flows were recorded at four streamflow index stations. The Potomac River at Paw Paw, West Virginia, was 1771 percent of the long-term (1961-90) median flow for September. The Potomac River near Washington, D.C. was 1634 percent of median. The Rappahannock River at Remington, Virginia, was 2,750 percent of median and Casselman River at Markleton, Pennsylvania, was 1,455 percent of median.

On September 16, heavy rains hit Delaware and New Jersey and caused flooding on the Christina River in Delaware and Assunpink Creek in New Jersey.

On September 17, 7.2 inches of rain fell in McKean Township, Erie, County, Pennsylvania. Flooding along Mill Creek caused collapsed buildings, and resulted in evacuations, including rescues from roof tops.

Up to 8 inches of rain fell in the North Carolina mountains on September 28. The French Broad River was above flood stage at Rosman and Blantyre.

Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands

Hurricane Hortense hit Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands on September 9 to 10. In a 30-hour period, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, received more than 12 inches of rain, and San Lorenzo, Juncos, and Naguabo, Puerto Rico received more than 20 inches. Extensive flooding affected much of the islands.

Monthly mean flow of the Rio Grande De Manati at Highway 2 near Manati, Puerto Rico, increased seasonally, was 319 percent of median for Setember, and was in the above-normal range. The mean flow of 1,119 cubic feet per second (ft3/s) was the third highest for the period of record. New daily maximum of 17,400 ft3/s occurred on September 11.

Monthly mean flow of the Rio Inabon at Real Abaio, Puerto Rico, increased seasonally, was 280 percent of median for September, and was in the above-normal range following 2 months of flow in the normal range. The mean flow of 76 ft3/s was the second highest for the period of record.

Rockies and Northern Plains Region

Heavy rainfall from September 15 to 21 eased drought conditions in the Rockies and Northern Plains. During the week, Glascow, Montana, received 2.55 inches of rain which was 32 percent of the year-to-date total.


Between September 24 and 30 heavy rainfall from a remnant of Typhoon Tom hit southeaster Alaska. Juneau received more than 3 inches of rain in a single day, and weekly totals reached 9.71 inches in Yakutat and 6.90 inches in Sitka. Several rivers set new record flood peaks.

Monthly mean flow of Chena River at Fairbanks, Alaska, decreased seasonally, was 64 percent of median for September, and was in the below-normal range following 9 months of flow in the normal range.

Monthly mean flow of Tanana River at Nenana, Alaska, decreased seasonally, was 78 percent of median for September, and was in the below-normal range for the 4th consecutive month.

Monthly mean flow of Kenai River at Cooper Landing, Alaska, decreased seasonally, was 65 percent of median for September, and was in the below-normal range.

Monthly mean flow of Little Susitna River near Palmer, Alaska, increased contraseasonally, was 51 percent of median for September, and was in the below-normal range for the fourth consecutive month.


Monthly mean flow of East Branch of North Fork Wailua River near Lihue, Kauai, Hawaii, increased contraseasonally, was 300 percent of median for September, and was in the above-normal range. The mean flow of 86 ft3/s was the third highest for the period of record A new daily maximum of 952 ft3/s occurred on September 7.

Monthly mean flow of Kalihi Stream near Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii, increased contraseasonally, was 193 percent of median for September, and was in the above-normal range following 3 months of flow in the normal range. Monthly mean flow of Honopou Stream near Huelo, Maui, Hawaii, decreased seasonally, was 68 percent of median for September, and was in the normal range.

Big Three Rivers

The combined flow of the three largest rivers in the lower 48 States-- the St. Lawrence, the Mississippi, and the Columbia--24 percent declined from previous month, to 704,330 ft3/s seasonally declined which is 104 percent of the long-term median and in the normal range.

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