Flood estimated to be a 5- to 10-year flood

Friends of the Mad River and the USGS data concur that last week's flood, while significant, was measured as a flood of 5- to 10-year severity. For comparison, the flood of 1998 was considered a 500-year flood in Warren and a 100-year flood throughout the rest of the watershed.

Naming a flood a 5-, or 10- or 500-year flood refers to the comparison of the stream flow during flood events with historical stream flow data to predict how often that same stream flow will reoccur.

On Friday, the Moretown USGS (United States Geological Service) gauge topped out at a height of 10.39 feet, with the water discharge at 8,230 cubic feet/second at 3 p.m. In the flood of 1998, the water height reached 14.13 feet and the discharge rate maxed out at 10.39 cubic feet/second. The 1998 flood caused extensive road and farm crop damage, washed away one home and damaged dozens of homes and businesses in The Valley.

Caitrin Noel, watershed coordinator for Friends of the Mad River, said that the impact of last week's flooding was mild compared to prior floods. She said that flooding always causes turbidity and runoff into the river.

Noel also said that it was heartening to see that some of the mitigation measures that have taken place along the Mad River since the flood of 1998 have protected people and property. She pointed out that Riverside Park in Warren was underwater last week and left littered with trees. During the flood of 1998 a home was swept away from that site and one of its owners trapped on the roof clinging to a tree.

Noel said that, in her opinion, using historical flow data to predict the likelihood of flood reoccurrences would be less useful as climate change impacts weather patterns.

"As far as climate change goes, we don't know what we can expect in the future. Some predictions show increased amounts and intensity of rainfall for New England, so our historical data may not have much predictive value," Noel said.

Waitsfield bears the brunt of flooding

The Bridge Street Marketplace parking lot and parts of the development were engulfed in the Mad River on Friday when five and one-half inches of rain fell. A parked car became a sunken car and was towed away by Hap's before noon.

Waitsfield-Fayston Volunteer Firefighters served as emergency personnel, directed by Fire Chief Delbert Palmer. Firefighters strung police tape and kept an eye on rising floodwaters at Bridge Street where many people gathered to watch the river widen. The Waitsfield Covered Bridge came through the flood unscathed.

Meadow Road was covered when it disappeared under the water of the Mad River by mid-morning and two kayakers were seen on the rushing water, ducking as they went under the Meadow Road Bridge. After they passed, the water rose higher until there were only a few inches between the water and the floor of the bridge.

Waitsfield road crews had to repair/regrade a section of Meadow Road where a new, large culvert was installed over the summer, but no major road damage was reported. The farm fields on either side of the Meadow Road were littered with several uprooted trees.

Warren Post flood road report

Heavy rains from the tail end of tropical storm Nicole swelled rivers and streams throughout the Mad River Valley Thursday night and into Friday morning causing flooding and road damage.

The National Weather Service extended an official flood watch for Vermont to late Friday, October 1, for the storm that dumped as much as five and one-half inches of rain over its duration.

In Warren, Riverside Park was completely underwater; trees, brush and debris floated across high water and washed up across the park.

Members of the Warren Road Crew spent two hours Tuesday with a backhoe trying to clear the trees, debris and garbage that washed up in the area. The crew also prepared before the storm, doing cutouts on various roads to encourage runoff.

The culvert at the lower end of Plunkton Road at the intersection of Route 100 washed out and a section of the bottom of Airport Road was closed briefly because of an accident near the Kingsbury Bridge that was caused by water over the road.

According to Town Administrator Cindi Hartshorn-Jones, the culvert is on the Granville side on Plunkton Road (the most heavily traveled road in Granville) so they are responsible for repairing it. Crews were out Monday fixing the culvert. 

Warren Road Crew members also aided in the repair.

A section of Route 100 and Granville was closed temporarily as the river came over the road.