Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Flood of 2010.  When March broke the record for wettest month ever in Rhode Island history.

The ground was already soggy when it started raining on Tuesday, and by evening the smaller streams were out of their banks.  By Wednesday the rivers had overflowed as well.  The Blackstone River flooded and the Patuxet River cut off I-95 between here and Providence.  But it was the Pawcatuck River and its tributaries down here that wreaked havoc for us.  The Wood River sunk the Woodville-Alton Road and overran the route 91 bridge to Alton threatening to burst the dam there, cutting us off to the north.  Downstream, below the merge with the Pawcatuck the Burdickville Crossing was under water a hundred yards wide, cutting us off from the east.  And to the south, although the Bradford bridge was above water, the road was not and the river ran across and through the Bradford Dye Works.  To the west and south, Chase Hill road was cut off and route 3 down toward Westerly was flooded at French Village (though people were getting around that for awhile by getting on the bridge via Old Cemetery Road).  Westerly, Stonington, Pawcatuck, Hope Valley, Old Mystic and so on were all flooded -- many without electricity as substations were inundated.  For a time route 216 was impassable beneath the Ashaway river and our only way out was route 3 up to 95.

Our sump pump ran non-stop for 2 days -- never draining the water down enough to switch off.   I had to swap in our spare several times to keep the motors from burning out.  On Wednesday, when the battle was being lost, our house was pretty much surrounded on three sides by a new pond of sluggish-flowing water.  The water rose to 5 or 6 inches in the basement despite two pumps running simultaneously.  If the electricity had gone out we would have quickly had several feet.

Monica was trying to get an interview for a job at Brown and actually tried to get up to Providence on Wednesday, but was stymied by the Patuxet and all the flooding in Warwick.  On Thursday morning, I-95 was still blocked, but she found a route more inland and managed to get to her meeting.  By Friday, the rivers were falling and some of the bridges cleared for traffic.  And now, with the ground utterly soggy, people scan the weather reports hoping for a few dry weeks -- knowing that the next rainstorm is going to lay itself right down on top of all this wet.