Rain, Rain, Go Away: Flooding in New England

Do you love your car? Maybe it has all the bells and whistles and still has that new car smell; maybe it’s an oldie but a goodie that fits like a glove. Although no matter what level of affinity you have for your vehicle, there’s not much of a chance you’d feel the same way after spending hours trapped in it, partially submerged in floodwater, as many Connecticut residents did last week.Due to particularly heavy thunderstorms in the southwest quadrant of Connecticut at the beginning of the month, officials had to rescue a large amount of people from their cars after they attempted to forge ahead through floodwaters, either miscalculating the depth of their particular area or simply not realizing the possible outcome of driving into water.

The Stratford, Conn. Fire Department posted this warning on their Facebook page: “Please do not attempt to drive or walk through standing water. There is no way to determine how deep the water is and often times manhole covers become displaced leaving a large hole in the roadway which can substantially damage your vehicle or cause you to fall into the drainage system.”

While, many adhered to this sage advice, the Stratford FD still needed to respond to upwards of 30 distress calls concerning people trapped in flooded vehicles just within town lines. Other towns, like Milford, Conn., also fielded more than 30 similar calls for help.

Of course, severe flooding can happen anywhere in the United States. We’ve seen it so many times in the wake of hurricanes and tropical storms. However, many tend to associate the real flooding problems with southern states like Florida and Louisiana–areas more prone to tropical weather and all of its downfalls. What we must remember is that flooding doesn’t just come as the result of storms like Hurricane Isaac or Katrina.

In some areas, all it takes is a couple of hours of heavy rain for flooding to become out of control. And this is exactly what happened in Connecticut. According to Insurance Journal, “Milford Mayor Benjamin Blake calls it the worst flooding that town has seen in decades. He says more than 20 businesses, the lower level of a shopping mall, and part of City Hall were under water last Friday afternoon.”

The part of Connecticut that was most impacted by rising water were towns along the Long Island Sound; being close to the shore puts them on lower ground and has found them to be potential flood risks during many rainstorms over the area.

In order to best prepare for the possibility of this type of weather scenario, it’s best to not take any chances. If afforded the opportunity to plow through a flooded parking lot or a road with lanes that have become hidden by water, either safely turn around or just stay put for the moment. However inconvenient it is to not be able to take a certain route home from work or to not be able to leave the grocery store after shopping is finished, think about how much more inconvenient it would be to require police or fire rescue along with hundreds in repair dollars for your water-damaged auto. Not only that but, the roads are incredibly unsafe in rains of this magnitude and it’s often best not to drive at all during them if it can be avoided in any manner.

So do your best to stay out of the rain but, if you must drive, do so with caution and discretion so that you too, don’t wind up in need of rescue!

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