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Record setting rain in New England causes widespread flooding

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010 5:36pm MDT
Many rivers were experiencing major (purple) or moderate (red) flooding according to the National Weather Service. (NWS / AHPS)

Many rivers were experiencing major (purple) or moderate (red) flooding according to the National Weather Service. (NWS / AHPS) Click the image for a slideshow of the flooding.

Record breaking rains across the Northeast turned into flooding the likes of which haven’t been seen in the region for more than 100 years. As hundreds of residents were forced to evacuate yesterday, authorities have warned that the worst is yet to come.

Earlier this month many of the same areas were struck by flooding but that event pales in comparison. Rainfall amounts have been staggering in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. From New York to Maine, widespread flooding is expected.

The nation’s smallest state, Rhode Island, has suffered the most with rainfall in some areas approaching 10 inches. 120 homes in Cranston were evacuated and in Warwick 300 apartments and 100 businesses fled the rising floodwaters.

Interstate 95, the main route between Boston and New York was closed and may remain so for days. Amtrak was forced to cancel some train service through the region due to water on its tracks.

Rhode Island Gov. Don Carcieri said, “None of us alive have seen the flooding that we are experiencing now or going to experience. This is unprecedented in our state’s history.”
The governor gave all non-essential state personnel the day off and officials asked schools and businesses to consider closing as well.

The Pawtuxet River crested early Wednesday in Cranston at 20.79 feet – more than 10 feet above flood level and almost six feet above the record level.

Other rivers in the region were already above flood stage and some may not crest for days leading officials to warn that the worst is yet to come. The Charles River in Dover, Massachusetts and Merrimack Basin tributaries in New Hampshire and Massachusetts were at ‘major flood stage’ according to NOAA’s Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service.

State of emergencies were declared in Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts and governors in those states called out the National Guard to help with relief and recovery efforts.

President Barack Obama had already declared Major Disasters for Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Massachusetts from the flooding earlier this month.

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