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Remember: Park Log Supplemental: After the Thunderstorm

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Park Log Supplemental: After the Thunderstorm

Yesterday, it was my intention to document the thunderstorms affects on Cedar Beach Parkway, during the storm. The kitchen in my house flooded (which was awesome) so I had to do damage patrol before I could go. I found some very interesting things.

Cedar Beach Parkway

I arrived to find Cedar Creek filled to the brim.

A close inspection of the surrounding area revealed that there had been a brief flash flood. There were pools of water on the lawn grass and the long grass in the buffer zones was flattened.

It appeared that the reflecting pools, recently emptied, had filled back up before the city intended them to be.

The parking lot next to the picnic tables and across from the pool had also fallen victim to the flash flood.

Union Terrace

During heavy rain events, the streets in the low lying area around the terrace are very flood prone. I found Union Street slightly underwater.

The creek, here too was full. I saw that the city has turned on the fountains in the lake, which are designed to improve circulation and clean the water up a bit.

Lehigh Parkway

Here is where I made a very cool discovery. As I drove into the Parkway, a thick mist was hovering over parts of the creek, the road, and well pretty much everywhere.

I couldn’t figure out why right away. It wasn’t hot enough for the macadam to be letting out enough heat to cause it. I didn’t think the contrast between the surface temperature of the Little Lehigh and the air was great enough to cause it either. I was confused. Until I saw this:

That is a serious accumulation of hail. The melting of which is the cause of the mist. Had I arrived earlier I may have been greeted with a Parkway that looked more like there should have been lights in it than green trees.

There were examples of the erosive power of water everywhere.

The Little Lehigh was as swollen as Cedar Creek.

The mist gave the Parkway a mysterious and beautiful appearance.

So far this June we have had about 200% of the normal precipitation we usually receive on average during the entire month. With a ten day forecast that does not have one day where we will not have the possibility of rainfall, flooding could become a serious issue in the Lehigh Valley this summer. This is of course after we had a nearly seven inch deficit in total precipitation for the year heading into May.

It is very interesting to document the affects of these storms on our parks but it is also the effects of runoff and suburban drainage which swell our creeks much more than they used to be. It will help the flood plains of places like Cedar Beach Parkway when more of the surrounding creek area is reforested. Reforesting helps hold soil, which prevents erosion and creates soil that requires more water so that there is easier absorption.

If the current weather pattern holds for a long time, we could be in some trouble with water this summer.

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Blogger Michael Drabenstott said...

Nice pictures, Andrew -- especially the mist in Lehigh Parkway. I've been running in Lehigh Parkway for nine years now. It seems that the water level rises a little more each year after heavy rain. I attribute the rise to upstream suburban development (Upper/Lower Macungie) that causes more voluminous and dirty runoff. Riparian buffer zones along the creek will help stem erosion, but the problem will persist and worsen unless development is checked.

June 16, 2009 at 2:53 PM  
Blogger Andrew Kleiner said...

I agree completely Michael. Nice comment.

June 16, 2009 at 4:57 PM  
Blogger michael molovinsky said...

funny how someone can worry about development in the suburbs which they cannot control, and at the same time support all this infrastructure to be built in the parks. when cedar creek park floods, as it always does in prolong heavy rain, who will be paying to clean off the new parking lots, playgrounds and walkways. how much area will be covered with macadam to accommodate all these plans?

June 16, 2009 at 6:12 PM  

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