Floods deferred: The gentle melt continues.

The bulk of the record February snow has gently soaked into the soil, worked its way into streams or returned as vapor to the atmosphere. 

After close to 4 feet of snow fell in less than a week in the region, the fears of flooding were understandable. So far, however, the floods have been limited to nuisance-level.

The bare ground around here is "soupy," noted Ray Kruzdlo, the hydrologist at the National Weather Service office in Mount Holly. South Jersey, he said, "looks like a swamp. There's water everywhere."

And a new threat emerged this week when upstate New York, the headwaters region of the Delaware River, was buried under 2 and 3 feet of snow.

The latest snow-depth map published by the Middle Atlantic River Forecast Center probably contains an exaggeration or two, but the water contents of 3 and 4 inches -- a month's worth of rain -- are for real, says Kruzdlo.

Even so, no rapid melt up that way is imminent, he said, and it's reasonable to expect the March sun to go to town on eroding the snow pack during the next few days in New York. In the Philadelphia region, what's left of the snowpack is holding about an inch of water. The flow of the Delaware River is right about where it should be.

"I think we're okay, in the short term," said Krudzlo, adding that the next flood-potential outlook will be issued on Friday.

"The bottom line is, a record snowfall does not equate to record flooding."