WCO Report for Erie County 07/01/2009: Erie area, PA,
WCO Report Posted: June 30, 2009

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Posted by DWCO Randy Leighton on June 30, 2009 at 22:12:14:

July 1st, 2009

West Erie County, DWCO Randy Leighton, WCO Brook Tolbert


The skies opened up early Tuesday morning and the rain poured and poured and poured some more through out the day. Rainfall around the area was reported at over 5 inches for the short period. Our back yard gauge was nearly 7 inches. The Erie area along the I 90 corridor saw some of the worst flooding in years with many underpasses and low lying areas underwater. Many areas saw flooding for the first time. Pictures of vehicles with water up to the doors and impassable roadways flooded the internet. Interstate 90 was brought to a standstill and small boats hit the streets in some areas. The area tributaries were as high as I've seen in years. Walnut Creek was hit hard with the channel reaching up and nearly over the walls and jack knifing the launch ramps. Much more rain and we likely would have seen water in the parking area. The severe flooding of the area tribs has sent tremendous amounts of large debris, trees, and mud down stream and out of the mouths. It will be days as the water subsides and boaters are advised to use extreme caution to debris lying under the surface. The mud line extending into the Lake from the mouths is large and will make it difficult to see the exiting debris. Forecasts are calling for more rain. It is not unusual for such a rain event to have an adverse effect on fishing and it may be a number of days before all returns to normal. Current Lake Erie water temperature is 72 degrees.

Maintaining Your Bilge Pump and Bilge Area:
The insurance industry points to faulty bilge pumps as the number one cause of boats sinking. Many sunken boats are the result of the bilge pump not working at the owners slip and with the rain over the last few days, those docked boats with faulty bilge pumps may be paying the price. The following guidelines will help you keep the bilge pump in great shape:
1) Inspect the bilge pump regularly, about once a month.

2) Check the bilge pump action by lifting the float manually to ensure that the pump kicks on automatically.

3) Make sure no debris blocks the pivot arm from rising and falling.

4) Look for corrosion and rust, particularly on wires and connections.

5) Check for loose wires and replace or re-splice corroded wires. Make sure the wires are positioned above the high
water mark.

6) Take note of the amount of water in the bilge. If it is excessive, check the source and address the problem.

7) Make sure any fittings below the waterline are double-clamped and free of leaks.

8) Bilge pumps should have power at all times. Make sure that yours is wired directly to the battery (or the main
battery switch).

9) Check the condition and voltage of the fuse to ensure it meets manufacturer specifications to avoid blowouts.

10) Always have a spare fuse on hand.

11) For continual bilge maintenance and odor control, pour about a half-cup of a quality bilge cleaner into the bilge weekly over the course of the boating season. This will prevent debris buildup and avoid bilge pump malfunctions.

Have a Safe Fourth:
The Fourth of July Holiday is one of the busiest boating days of the season. Although temperatures will be on the cool side for this time of year, the Lake is now over 70 degrees and with the Holiday falling on a Saturday, the waterways and launch ramps along Lake Erie and Presque Isle Bay will be crowded. Take a moment and check that you have all the required safety equipment for your watercraft, and be reminded that excessive alcohol consumption and boating can be a deadly combination.

A thunderstorm more than a mile away from your vessel can produce lightning that can strike your boat. In fact, the National Weather Service reports that lightening can be generated as far as 10 miles away from a storm. The service recommends that mariners use the "30-30 Rule" when visibility of the storm is still good: Once you see lightning, count the seconds until you hear thunder. If that time is 30 seconds or less, the thunderstorm is within 6 miles of you and is dangerous. Wait at least 30 minutes after the last lightning flash before leaving shelter. Within that time there could still be a threat of a lightning strike ... even if it is sunny and the sky is clear.

Should you spot a threatening cloud ... even at a distance ... stop all contact with the water. Discontinue all water activities such as fishing or swimming. (Beware: Graphite fishing rods and aluminum landing nets are excellent conductors.)

Lower or remove radio antennas and other metal rod objects (unless they are part of a lightning protection system).

Disconnect and don't touch any electronic equipment, including the radio.

Stay in the center of the cabin or as low in the boat as possible to avoid becoming a human lightning rod. For the same reason, do not put each hand on any items connected to the electrical system at the same time.

Navigating in High Wind and Waves:
Maneuver so the boat takes the initial and heaviest winds on the bow, not abeam. (The smaller the boat, the more important it is to head into the wind.)
Waves should be approached at a 45-degree angle. This will help keep the propeller underwater and reduce pounding.

In moderate seas, slow your speed so you can ride atop and over a wave. Avoid driving the bow into a wave or riding to the top of the wave and falling off the back, which could bury the bow.

Remember ... the heavier the seas, the slower your boat speed to minimize strain on the vessel and maximize steering control.

Continue to keep the bilge free of water to prevent the rolling effects of sloshing water below.

Local Weather:

Wednesday Night...Occasional showers with a chance of thunderstorms. Lows in the mid 50s. East winds around 5 mph...becoming southwest after midnight. Chance of rain 90 percent.

Thursday...Showers and thunderstorms likely. Highs in the upper 60s. Southwest winds 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 70 percent.

Thursday Night...Cloudy with a 40 percent chance of showers. Lows in the upper 50s. West winds 10 to 15 mph.

Friday...Mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of showers. Highs in the lower 70s.

Friday Night...Mostly cloudy in the evening...then becoming partly cloudy. Lows in the upper 50s.

Independence Day...Partly cloudy. Highs in the mid 70s.

Saturday Night...Partly cloudy in the evening...then becoming mostly cloudy. A 30 percent chance of showers. Lows in the upper 50s.

Sunday...Partly sunny with a 30 percent chance of showers. Highs in the lower 70s.

Sunday Night...Mostly cloudy. Lows in the mid 50s.

Monday...Partly cloudy. Highs in the mid 70s.

Monday Night...Partly cloudy. Lows in the upper 50s.

Tuesday...Partly cloudy. Highs in the mid 70s.

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