The Great Flood*
Text and photos © 2010-2012 Ron Cohen. All rights reserved.
Posted March 2011. Revised March 2012.
Left: Scene of flooding from my window, March 15, 2010, 6:17 pm.
Below: View upstream from the Windsor Village culvert, March 15, 2010, 4:09 pm.
These photos, and the slideshow below, remind us not only of nature’s raw power, but also what can happen when the drainage system of our beloved Hardy Pond is neglected.
Run-up. A few months before the two great floods of March 2010, we learned that the Windsor Village culvert — located on Chester Brook, the discharge channel for Hardy Pond — had partially collapsed, reducing its flow capacity by half. City officials resisted calls for emergency steps. In these photos, you can see the result.
Flooding. The photo below shows a swollen Chester Brook just upstream of the defective Windsor Village culvert at the height of the first, and greater of the two floods. The stream nearly filled its deep channel all the way back to Hardy Pond. As best as I could judge, the water outside my window (top photo) was at about the same level. There can be no doubt that the collapsed culvert caused shoreline flooding on a much greater scale than otherwise would have been the case.
Lessons Learned. A similar flood threat now is posed by Chester Brook itself. The first quarter-mile leg of the channel has become fully silted up — almost certainly due to the 2010 floods — and has lost much of its flow capacity. It badly needs cleaning, as an outside engineering study (pdf) recommended early in 2011. A year after the report, little or nothing had been done.
Related Issues. Flood prevention will be a high priority, of course, for those who live around the pond and saw their homes threatened in 2010. But there’s another, compelling reason to maintain proper drainage: it promotes a healthy pond ecosystem. By flushing away decaying organic matter, for example, it helps prevent oxygen depletion. It also draws off road salt and lawn chemicals that wash into the pond, as well as airborne pollutants that dissolve in the water.
Photographs. Both floods were “100-year,” and occurred on March 15-18th and March 30-31st, respectively. Most of the photos shown here are of the first and worse of the two, “The Great Flood.”
During that first flood, I stuck close to home, because of the difficulty of getting around in the torrential rain on the first day, and then worry about the rising water in my basement after that. The events unfolding outside my window and at the nearby Windsor Village culvert were drama enough for me. By the time the second flood came around, my enthusiasm for flood photos had vanished.
Photos above: Click an image to enlarge it, and browser’s back arrow to close.
Slide show below: Click thumbnails or use keyboard arrows to view slides on this page. Click any image to open full-screen slide show, then use keyboard arrows to navigate, and “Esc” key to return.
The following slide show is under construction; more photos will be added:
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