The Connecticut River is creeping up and the National Guard is on alert should they been needed for flooding in Hartford and Middletown.
While many rivers and streams in Eastern Connecticut have receded, the Connecticut River was cresting in Hartford at midday on Friday, around 21.5 feet – or 5.5 feet above flood stage. It was expected to crest in the Middletown area around 3 a.m. on Friday, reaching about 14 feet, about 6 feet above flood stage.
On Friday morning, there was flooding on roads in Cromwell, Putnam, Portland and Rocky.
Three Connecticut National Guard units are on alert status and a fourth unit is on four-hour recall, according to Gov. M. Jodi Rell.
“In most places, the water is receding, but we are keeping these National Guard teams in reserve, as well as a variety of other emergency teams – to respond to any problems that do arise,” Rell said.
A 25-foot response boat from U.S. Coast Guard Station New London has been put on a trailer and is in the Middletown area.
The state Department of Environmental Protection has pre-staged four additional boats, two on each side of the river in the Middletown area. The crews are on standby and can respond with 30 minutes to 45 minutes, Rell said.
The Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security’s Urban Search and Rescue Team are on standby, but not activated.
The amount of water surrounding Harbor Park in Middletown left many people amazed. Even those who have been living in Middletown for years were shocked to see the high water level. The water went beyond the back doors of the restaurant into the parking lot and even the street. For the ducks swimming by it was a little extra room to maneuver.
For drivers, it was a wet situation they were hoping to avoid.
“With my car, I certainly avoid it, because I know I won’t make it through,” Sherise Fetterman, of Higganum, said.
Across the river in Portland, the boats at the Yankee Boat Yard and Marina were somewhat back on the water, but not by choice. The water from the Connecticut River was inching further and further inland.
With news that the river was expected to crest by Friday morning, some residents prepared on Thursday by moving their stuff out of what could become water-filled basements.
“I plan 12 to 24 hours in advance to pull out anything that could be damaged. I’ve learned over the years that this could be a situation,” said Joanne Manter of Portland.
Her neighbors say the same thing. Living on the Connecticut River you have to be prepared for some flooding any year. But this time around, they’re not too worried.
“You never know another year, another time what’s going to happen, every spring you have to look out for this, all depends,” said Kathy Hanna of Portland.
The state is also sending out a warning about boating this weekend. State officials say just be careful of the fast moving-waters and debris.