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March exits with a splash

Region copes with state's 2nd wettest month on record

A rapid but narrow torrent roars down the hillside into a parking lot at Brookside Village, where pumps tried for hours to push floodwaters across Village Drive into Lebanon Brook. Gus Steeves. (click for larger version)
March 31, 2010
SOUTHBRIDGE — Although it doesn't take a hydrologist to know local rivers and streams were running very high Tuesday, Southbridge largely escaped the flooding that hit some eastern Massachusetts communities hard.

"We've been lucky so far," said Police Officer Robert Salisbury. "I think we learned a lot from 2005."

Fire Chief Richard Ciesla agreed, noting the town escaped with minor issues.

"We're not in bad shape," he said Wednesday morning. Although some basements flooded and the water bodies are high, overflow areas are rare.

Fortunately, the area will have a chance to dry out this weekend, as the National Weather Service is predicting mostly sunny skies with temperatures in the 60s and 70s until at least next Tuesday.

As of nightfall Tuesday, the largest submerged area in town was in Brookside Village, where a whitewater creek pouring off the hillside and under Route 131 created a small pond in a parking lot. Pumps were trying to force the water across Village Drive into already swollen Lebanon Brook, while a lone man in orange labored in at least foot-deep water.

Elsewhere, Guelphwood Road turned into obstacle courses as warning barrels on both sides marked encroaching water from the surrounding marsh. Spraying water in both directions, drivers had to slow down, but only getting out of their cars would allow them to hear an orchestra of peeper frogs.

See Thursday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

Stonebridge Press
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