This week marks the anniversary of a significant weather event that impacted Central New York and especially areas across the Southern Tier into Pennsylvania.

Hurricane Agnes, the first named storm in the Atlantic basin in 1972 was born in the Gulf of Mexico on June 18th. The outer bands of the storm produced 28 tornadoes across Florida on the 18th and 19th which killed 7 people in the state!

Once Hurricane Agnes made landfall across the Panhandle of Florida on June 19th as a strong category one storm it quickly weakened to a tropical depression by the morning of the 20th. The storm quickly weakened as it moved over land across the Southeastern U.S. bringing some heavy rain and limited flooding.

By June 21st what was left of Agnes restrengthened in North Carolina thanks to its interaction with an upper level low and cold front across the Northeastern U.S./Eastern Great Lakes region. Unfortunately, this resulted in some very heavy rain and catastrophic flooding across mountains of Virginia with upwards of 10 inches of rain falling from the 20th into the 21st.

The combination of the cold front and upper level storm in the Northeast and Agnes proved disastrous for parts of Upstate NY and Pennsylvania. Upwards of a foot of rain fell across parts of the Southern Tier into Pennsylvania over a 36 hr. period between the 21st and 23rd!

The rainiest day in Syracuse out of that stretch was on the 21st when over three and a half inches of rain fell on that day alone! This was followed by another just over an inch and a half of rain on the 22nd!


While some flooding occurred in and around CNY, the worst of the flooding which was historic and catastrophic took place across the Southern Tier into Northern Pennsylvania from Corning to Elmira and into the Susquehanna River basin, Wyoming Valley and Wilkes-Barre areas, where levees failed. Corning to Elmira were under water by June 23rd thanks to the levees failing!

After the worst of the flooding took place on June 24th in the wake of the heaviest rain, it would take several days before the Susquehanna River would recede and allow families to return home and begin to clean up and restoration process.   

For much more on this devastating storm but together by the National Weather Service, click here.