Water Runs Downhill at Upton Hill - Fast

Large volumes of water running off the parking lot at the top of Upton Hill negatively impacts the forest below, including the sensitive wetlands area in the NE corner.

2019 -- July 8 Storm Water Runoff: A Whirlpool and Geyser; New Measurement Point

Storm water poured off the parking lot and gushed downhill making it a major source of runoff into Reeves Run and Four Mile Run on July 8, 2019. The rain created a huge pool of water and a small river coming out of the drain pipe at the top of the hill. Water was flowing over Livingston Street. The runoff will increase when the parking lot is expanded. It is doubtful the new cistern NOVA Parks plans to construct will hold water from heavy storms so the runoff will continue to increase. Eventually such floods could undermine Livingston Street.

Unusual rain storms will become more usual. The New York Times reported on July 6 about increased flooding in Nashville that, “We’re starting to see evidence that the number of extreme events will increase,” said Barbara Mayes Boustead, a climate scientist and an author of the latest installment of the National Climate Assessment, a report written by 13 federal agencies that explores both the current and future impacts of climate change. An area’s average annual rainfall might increase by what seems to be a relatively small amount — from 40 inches a year to 42, for example — and “in your head, you might say ‘big whoop,’” she said. “But how it falls is the critical piece of the story,” with the extra amount concentrated in extreme events. On July 8 we all saw what a difference some additional inches received all at once rather than averaged over a year make.

The County permitting process created a new water outflow measurement point. NOVA Parks originally positioned it east of Livingston street. It would have measured the runoff from the entire Upton Hill area for the part of the watershed that drains that direction, making it harder to monitor the point discharge from the expanded parking lot. The County staff had NOVA Parks create a new measurement point at the new discharge pipe next to the parking lot (which is more or less at the current outflow point) making it much easier to determine the expanded parking lots impact on water runoff over existing conditions.

Water flowed over this part of Livingston Street at the height of the rain.
Reeves Run east of Livingston St. (flowing under the drains on Livingston above) was at flood stage.
During the dry parts of summer Reeves Run at Livingston St. usually look like the above.
New storm water measurement point is next to the parking lot where the new discharge pipe will be located rather than far away across Livingston Street where the old point was located.
At Upton Hill, stormwater was creating a huge pool.
That turned into a whirlpool. Click on picture to access video and hear sucking sound.
Storm water runoff draining from the pool created a geyser of white water going down Upton Hill!
Just downhill the run off formed two streams.
On a dry summer day, the discharge pipe area looks like this.

Four Mile Run Flooding Over Bluemont Park Tennis Courts and Baseball Field on July 8, 2019.

Upton Hill feeds Reeves Run. It empties into Four Mile Run near the backstop of the far baseball field and added to the flooding downstream.

2018 -- Videos of storm water runoff at Upton Hill Park during rainstorm on August 5.

  • Water sheeting off upper parking lot and into green hill's catch basin.
  • Then flowing through and out of pipe at top of hill.
  • Little Niagara and Grand Canyon after that.
  • Then the water rushes down hill adding to all the regular storm water runoff into wetland area that is the beginnings of Reeves Run that flows into Four Mile Run making several fast running streams while still sheeting over the forest floor.

Parking Lot and "dry" stream bed catch basin, August 5, 2018 Rainstorm

Gentry spent 40 minutes clinging to a rope in the water awaiting rescue, the victim of an alarming phenomenon: Torrential rain events across the United States are becoming more frequent and more intense, leading to record rainfall, rare extreme flooding and perilous infrastructure failures. Experts say the immense rains — some spawned by tropical ocean waters, others by once-routine thunderstorms — are the product of long-rising air temperatures and an increase in the sheer size of the storms. Because warmer air can hold more water, large storms are dropping far more rain at a faster clip.

Under Construction - Recent flooding events particularly as they impact the Four Mile Run Watershed and examples of erosion, e.g.: