2010 flood

Part 2:   16-March

This is the second part of the '10 flood set.

The rain finally stopped and it cleared overnight, and the next morning was bright and sunny and warm. The bad news was that the water had risen even higher overnight, but some good news came as evidence that it had probably peaked already.

[Click small pictures to see full-size versions.]

Our benchmark "pumphouse curve" shot again: close to engulfing the guard rail by now. This is about how it looked in '06, too.

My attempt to go around to the low spot of Burroughs again was now stymied by a big puddle near the sharp Burroughs / Old Andover bend! This was all clear yesterday.

Some people who had just slogged through this part said it was 5 or 6 inches right at the edge where they were, meaning even deeper out onto the banked road surface, and they told me that the *next* low spot farther on was even deeper. I decided to avoid dipping the car into this one.

Back out to the 28 bridge. The flow here actually seemed just a little abated from the previous day; the cascade off the edge of the pavement was a little less enthusiastic now.

I walked the bridge surface; the flowing skin of water wasn't all that deep but I noticed a few sinkholes forming in the pavement, and warned a couple of drivers who appeared to be thinking about going through. Probably not a good idea to put the weight of vehicles on the bridge when it's in such a delicate state, until repairs and inspection have been done.

This little guy had gotten itself dead-ended into a little cul-de-sac of half-submerged rocks and seemed unable to figure out how to turn around and go back out. I snagged the pic and then threw him back into the main flow, visible here streaming away through the wetlands toward the north end of the pond.

The low spot out on Gould Road / Central St near the rifle club was still covered, but quite a bit *lower*. I stopped here and walked into it to check, and just as I got back to the car another Prius arrived behind me and the occupants asked if they should try going through. I said *I* was about to confidently go through myself, so off they went. [No problem, no uncontrolled acceleration ...]

I caught this shot out the door as I crossed; plenty of clearance.

With such a reduction in water level already visible on the supply side of the pond, it was apparent that the areas upstream of us were draining and that the pond itself had probably peaked.

But no relief on the downstream end of things yet: another check of the first "dip" on Burroughs, much higher than yesterday and looking about like it did in '06.

The bridge was covered at this point too.

Here's where I found my best comparison "height gauge": Paul's mailbox post, from '06 [left] and '10 [right], and assuming its height hasn't changed over the years. It looks like the only difference has been a coat of paint. Note where the water is relative to the diagonal brace. It looks like '06 was a couple of inches higher, from both that and the rock wall.

The boat launch was buried again, as expected. But here it was easy enough to go out toward 28 and around to the other side that way.

As I arrived at the other end of the launch area, another car came in the same street but rather than come in the sensible alternate way from 28 that would have gotten them where they were headed, its driver chose to slog through the puddle.

Some attempts to shoot from the boat-launch and Batchelder Ave area, out across the pond to see where the waterline was relative to Clarke park and the houses.

Only a month and a half ago, this had all been 16 inches of glorious ice!

Things across 28 weren't in very good shape either: the driving range and part of the flower-market building where Mad Maggie's used to be, all inundated.

Strange to think that only a couple of months before, I had spent 20 minutes spinning donuts in 5" of virgin snow in this big lot where Honda Barn used to store its extra vehicles. [Great fun, good skid training.] Now it was close to 60 degrees outside.

A re-check of the Rt. 62 bridge inlet side, where the concrete and measuring scale are completely gone. It's kind of surprising that the sustained pressure and fast flow through the two little holes doesn't erode away the understructure of the bridge. Too bad; a well-timed washout would force the decision for a badly-needed rebuild anyway, wouldn't it...

This more or less completed the circuit of the pond and related areas that I could get to without walking through major deep parts; at this point I continued on to the other part of the day's agenda: emptying a friend's basement over in Wilmington.

An interesting vortex spinning over a storm drain.

Other picture sets

Bob Burg sent along these nice shots from the following morning, when it was apparently completely windless across the pond. Again, click on any small one for a larger version.

Scott Ronco made two Flickr sets available, one from Mar 15 while it was still raining, and one from Mar 16 when the flood peaked.

Later, Lori got together with a local pilot and took a really great set of aerial shots, which really show just how fragile the little threads of normally dry land are that we depend on for neighborhood access. Compare some of these with the normal state of things as seen by Google Earth sat pix, for example. Some of these swamp areas only have one outlet, like a tidal pool, and have to drain back out the same way the water came in [i.e. through the pond]. The major drainage choke-points are clearly visible, one at the road-bridge between the two halves of the gravel quarry and the other where the stream passes under Rt. 62.

Which poignantly explains why this sign went up on one of the trees along the "escape route" a couple of days later. Political and financial will for increased capacity at the chokepoints is desperately needed!

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