Cross post from HatCityBLOG
With memories of hurricane/tropical storm Floyd still fresh in my memory, today I made it a point to visit the exact locations a traveled back in 1999 in order to compare the flood damage cause by Irene to one of the worse rain storms of the 90s.
For those for forgot about Floyd’s visit to Hatcity, the damage caused to this area was so widespread (although it was a tropical storm Floyd seemed to stop right over Danbury and drop inches upon inches of rain) that it was noted in Wikipedia.
The effects of Hurricane Floyd in New England stretched across the region from Connecticut to Maine and included two casualties. Floyd, once a large and powerful hurricane, made landfall in North Carolina and weakened as it tracked northward along the U.S. East Coast. By September 17, 1999, the storm, downgraded in strength to a tropical storm, was situated over New England. It produced heavy rainfall and gusty winds throughout the entire region, leading to widespread downing of trees and extensive power outages before it moved away later that day. In Danbury, Connecticut, Floyd triggered severe flooding, considered the worst in 40 years, that damaged hundreds of homes.
As Floyd tracked up the Connecticut River Valley towards Massachusetts, it dropped heavy precipitation. The heaviest rainfall occurred in a southwest–northeast orientated swath from northern New Jersey to southwestern Connecticut, including southeastern New York. At the Danbury Airport, 11.13 in (283 mm) of rain was reported. Rainfall rates of 1 to 2 in (25 to 51 mm) per hour occurred at Bethel and Danbury. Numerous rivers overflowed; for example, the Still River and its tributaries triggered severe flooding. The worst of the flooding—considered the worst in 40 years—took place at Danbury. Hundreds of homes, two car dealerships, several roads, and other structures were damaged there. At Greentree Motors, all 200 vehicles were declared a total loss. Parts of the city were submerged with 4 ft (1.2 m) of water.
When comparing Irene to Floyd, it’s not even close.
While it appears that Irene caused major damage to the state’s coastline, when it comes to Danbury it appears that the city was spared any major destruction.
For those in the know, when it comes to flooding in Danbury, the place better known as Swampfield has certain locations that always flood. Back in 1999, I worked at one of these locations over on Finance Drive near Newtown Road and can distinctly recall the flood damage to that area (i.e., the bridge on Old Newtown Road was destroyed, water on Finance Drive came to the hood of my Jeep, intersection of Finance Drive and Newtown Road was under at least 3 to 4 feet of water, Federal Road by Stew Leonards looked like a river, etc).
With that in mind, today, I videotaped the same locations in order to give those who remember the storm of ’99 a comparative view of the damage caused by hurricane Irene. Now, this is not to say that there wasn’t any damage in Greater Danbury…just that in terms of the city of Danbury, the area was for the most part spared any significant damage.
Areas in video: Newtown Road, Corner of Finance/Augusta Drive and Old Newtown Road, Beaver Brook Road, Federal Road (note how Greentree Toyota learned their lesson from ’99), White Street (in front of 3 Bros. Diner), West Street (Still River), White Street (Still River).
UPDATE: Here’s video I shot of a storm on West Street back in March of 2010. You can compare this footage of the video I shot on West Street in the first video (3:15 to 4:11). During 1999′s Floyd, I was unable to stand at that section of the street.
Finally, here’s a report from WTNH back in March of this year when a rain storm flooded many of the same spots I videotaped today. Note that the flood level from that storm (caused by the combination of rain and melted snow) are almost identical to the levels from Irene.
In short, yes the flooding from Irene was bad but we’ve seen MUCH worse…Danbury was called Swampfield for a reason.