Floods threaten New England

State emergency management teams in both Vermont and Massachusetts were assessing flood damage Friday after streams overflowed their banks in the wake of seven inches of rain combined with melting snow.

BY SUSAN KIM | BRATTLEBORO, Vt. | April 2, 2004



"Most of the stem rivers have crested already and many communities averted serious flood damage."

—Peter Judge


State emergency management teams in both Vermont and Massachusetts were assessing flood damage Friday after streams overflowed their banks in the wake of seven inches of rain combined with melting snow.

In Massachusetts, the Merrimack River will crest by early Saturday morning, said Peter Judge, public information officer, and response crews were on high alert. "Lowell and Lawrence could be impacted," he said. "We are watching this very, very carefully."

There was some residential damage in the northeast part of Massachusetts, he said, but the bulk of the damage was to streets and bridges. "Most of the stem rivers have crested already," he said, "and many communities averted serious flood damage."

In Vermont, some 80 people were evacuated Thursday night from the community of Brattleboro when the Whetstone Brook overflowed, said Duncan Higgins, public information officer for the Vermont Emergency Management Agency.

Many of the evacuees were senior citizens.

"We had an evacuation of two trailer parks," he said, as well as a housing development for the elderly, but people were back in their homes Friday.

There was not a significant amount of damage in Brattleboro the hardest-hit community across the state and the evacuations were precautionary, said Higgins.

The Whetstone Brook is one of the fastest-rising creeks in New England.

Some streams in the area were higher than they've been for 15 years, according to local emergency management reports.


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