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Lebanon floods: 'Major damage'

LEBANON — A heavy band of rain hit the already-waterlogged city Tuesday afternoon, causing “major damage to major roads,” Fire Chief Chris Christopoulos said.

“It’s crazy out here right now,” said Christopoulos, who was manning the state’s Emergency Operations Center, set up in response to the flash flooding that swept through.

According to a statement from Gov. Maggie Hassan’s office, 2.11 inches of rain fell in the Lebanon area between 3 and 4 p.m. Tuesday. The unexpected massive rainfall wreaked havoc on infrastructure already weakened by heavy rains on Monday night.

“We didn’t know this cell was coming through,” said Christopoulos. “We’ve had fire, police and DPW crews out all day assessing damage from last night. This one caught us off-guard. We’ve got major water damage to major roads.”

An employee at the Department of Public Works said there is massive flooding all over the city, sinkholes in roads, dislodged manhole covers. There appears to be a significant water main break as well.

“It’s bad,” the employee said. “Real bad.”

Christopoulos said that one apartment complex was evacuated and up to 20 residents from Slayton Hill Road sent to a shelter opened to the public at Lebanon High School.

“We’re trying to get ahead of this by evacuating anyone in danger before the next round of rains come,” the chief said.

Mike Barwell, media relations manager for Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, said the hospital suffered no damage, but the storm cell was “a real gully washer.”

“We got an urgent message on our cell phones from the National Weather Service warning us it was coming,” he said.

Driving home on Interstate 89, Barwell said that the Mascoma River was flowing well outside its banks between exits 17 and 18.

Christopoulos said he is working on a comprehensive list of road closures; crews are still out assessing the latest damage.

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