New England flooding worst in decades

New England's flooding rain finally let up on Wednesday, but dams and rivers are still being closely monitored.

BY HEATHER MOYER | CONCORD, N.H. | May 17, 2006


New England's flooding rain finally let up on Wednesday, but dams and rivers are still being closely monitored. Hundreds of people remain evacuated from their homes due to the high water.

The National Weather Service reports that some storm rainfall totals for cities in New Hampshire and Massachusetts hit 13 and 14 inches for the four-day storm.

Weather and emergency officials are calling the rain event the worst flooding since the 1930s. The hardest hit areas are north of Boston along the Merrimack River valley near the New Hampshire border. Residents in Methuen and Melrose, Mass., have been evacuated. Others are canoeing through the flooded streets of Peabody, Mass.

In New Hampshire, residents near Wakefield and Milton remain evacuated due to concerns about the stress on nearby dams. The Spaulding Dam in Lebanon, Maine, is also under stress and residents near it were evacuated as well.

Homes all along the Merrimack River and its tributaries through southern New Hampshire and northern Massachusetts are being flooded. Schools and businesses remained closed Tuesday due to flooding and because bus drivers are unable to navigate the many flooded and closed roads. Many residents are watching local rivers creep into their yards and into neighbors' homes.

"Right now, the water is about 50-75 feet away from my house," said Carin Plante, a resident of Pittsfield, N.H., near the Suncook River. "There is one house and a large yard between the river and myself. I'm watching the weather and it's not looking good."

Plante also teaches at a local school and added that while her school is still in session, may of the kids are displaced because of the flooding.

Emergency officials in both states are also reporting problems with sewage backing up into homes because of pressure on the pipes. The governors of New Hampshire and Massachusetts both declared states of emergencies Sunday, and York County, Maine, is also under a state of emergency.

The quick-moving water has washed out more than 700 hundred roads in all three states.


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