Towns Preparing Ahead of Expected Heavy Rains

Public works crews are clearing storm drains and inspecting waterways are being inspected ahead of flooding rains expected from the remnants of Hurricane Ida.

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With heavy rains expected Wednesday into Thursday night, a flash flood watch is in effect for much of the state. Hoping to mitigate potential problems, public works crews have been taking proactive measures today.

Loading trucks with temporary barriers, Granby’s Public Works Department was preparing for possible road closures. This, while other crews inspected the town’s storm drainage.

“All of our basins are open. Waterways are open and cleared of debris so that the heavy rain can’t take that flow,” said Granby DPW Director Kirk Severance.

Granby officials say they have made plans to staff the town’s emergency management station as a command post. In addition to flooding, they have other concerns.

“The trees are certainly being impacted no matter what,” said Severance. “The soil is loose and if there’s any wind with it, it will take down large trees again.”

In Vernon, more work was being conducted. Crews were working to inspect waterways that have been strained by repeated rain events.

“It’s hard to keep up with it,” said Vernon Road Foreman Mark Rizzo. “(The rain has) clogged pipes, clogged catch basins. They’ve caused flooding. Streams are overflowing. Rivers are overflowing.”

During Henri, part of Vernon’s Maple Street saw water cresting over the roadway. Hoping to avoid problems there this week, drainage from a nearby pond was adjusted to lower the water level.

While public works crews take proactive measures, some homeowners are still concerned. Jamie McAuliffe lives at the bottom of a slope that has been funneling water and debris onto his property when it rains.

“We’ve seen the pool fill up multiple times. I’ve drained my pool this summer more times than I probably ever have in a year,” McAuliffe said, explaining that the pool liner has been affected by too much water coming in and the water table rising beneath it.

In West Hartford, people have seen their share of flooding too. Erin Lewis saw cars driving through standing water and some getting stuck near her home on Foxcroft Road on August 19.

“It was pretty intense. It was the most water that I’ve seen on the street,” Lewis said.

Tuesday, West Hartford issued a warning and recommendations. Officials suggest people store basement materials on high shelves, clear storm drains and catch basins, check sump pumps and protect important documents.

As early as 8 a.m. one Larson’s Ace Hardware store in West Hartford was busy with people buying items to handle potential flooding.

“The best thing to have would be a shop vac because that can pick the water up right away and just dump it down the drain and you’re all set,” said Hugh Hollinshead.

As towns around the state prepare today, there is one common message. Safety first.

“Be careful and stay away from the flooded areas as much as possible,” said Granby Town Manager, Bill Smith.

Among the safety precautions officials are advising, don’t drive through or allow children to play in standing water.

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