Frenchtown Flood of 2004 page 2/3

As it grew.... 2 am Sunday morning
Day two: September 19, 2004.

projected to crest Sunday afternoon 20-30 feet above normal


BUSINESSES & RESIDENTS near the river have been ordered to EVACUATE TO HIGHER GROUND.
2 am. The Bridge is Closed.

The water is high. Lots of stuff in the water.

There's water on the town side of the old rail bed. A drain has backed up. The town is beginning to flood. One side of the trail is already a little lake. Railroad Ave between 3rd & 4th streets is impassable. A garage looks like a boathouse. There's a new lake at the end of 2nd street...

As we walk up the trail - the old, solid, level railroad bed that acts as a levee for Frenchtown, we see the water - the river itself - only a foot or two below the top of this last defense for the town. As the river rises, it flows into town through the drains.

Already Trenton Ave (State Highway 29) - the only road south out of town - is closed. Flooded. A rescue boat is parked at the Post Office. You don't see that every day.

The Nishisackawick Creek is flowing backwards - into town. Normally, it flows into the Delaware. Tonight, the Delaware is flowing into it.

and across Trenton Ave, blocking southern egress.
and into yards and driveways. Car tires are getting wet.
the water's within 30 feet of the Post Office already.
What will the morning - then the afternoon bring?


Then, back to the bridge; the focal point of our community's watch on the river. People come and go. It's nearly 3 am. The river watch continues. The police car blocks traffic, but the local folk walk past the flares on the ground, and over to the bridge to see this 50-year phenomenon - the river coming into town on its own terms....

Ron (our mayor) says that NOAH's revised their prediction and this flood may not be as high as the terror of 1955. It crested 27 feet above normal. This one's projected to only reach 22 or 23 feet above normal. Of course, I'd bet that even 20 feet will mean water in the streets and basements of Frenchtown. We'll know for sure sometime tomorrow afternoon.

(Then the cleanup will begin. Now won't that be fun?)

But that's tomorrow. Tonight, things are pretty exciting, and all we do is stand around and talk and try to take pictures to record this momentous event.

The river makes a rushing sound as it flows around the brush
and debris piled up on the upstream side of the pylons.

It makes a sloshing sound as it laps up the side of the road, slowing getting closer to us where we stand.

All of a sudden, there was a screeching sound. We all looked out and someone said "a tree". Yes. A large tree was forced under our bridge and raked across the open metal framework, creating a harsh and disturbing sound.

The tree floated off downstream, it's branches reaching to the sky in hopeless supplication.

Then Terry reported that a large canoe just went by. "A big one. In perfect shape!" "Okay. Dive in and go catch it."... and a laugh among friends. ...More trees, propane tanks, things of all sort. They just float by. Quickly.

The mayor and chief of police were there. Ron asks Paul if Marge got out. Last word was that Marge was going to stay in her house. You know Marge. Ron & Al left, possibly to get Marge to leave her house while she still could.

Paul was there. His house is already flooded. He moved his vehicles to the graveyard. (It's on high ground) He said that the graveyard was full of cars. He said that he won't need any help tomorrow, but he'll certainly need help on Monday shoveling the mud out of his shop.
I volunteered myself and my 3 flat shovels. It won't be easy, but it will feel good to be helping my friend. Disasters don't often strike us, but when they strike your friends, your own plans change to accomodate a new situation.

Just be happy that your house is dry.

and come by for more photos and the continuing story tomorrow. - ed.
Frenchtown Bridge at 2 am

Old Frenchtown Bridge Photo

High Water under the Bridge at 2 am
The Frenchtown Bridge at 2 am Sunday, September 19, 2004. Flood waters are rising. Crest is at 4 pm tomorrow...
Check back for updated photos tomorrow. - webmaster

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