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Flooding gives way to freeze, ice chunks

By DOUG ALDEN
New Hampshire Union Leader

January 14. 2018 8:42PM

Chunks of ice still litter Sharon Road in Peterborough on Sunday. (COURTESY)



After a sudden thaw was halted by a frigid turn, chunks of ice remained Sunday on roads that had been covered by floodwaters.

“There’s still lot of ice along the edge of some of the roadways, so people need to be mindful of that,” Peterborough Police Chief Scott Guinard said Sunday. “We urge drivers to drive with extreme caution, especially when approaching icy areas and be watchful of potholes.”

Sharon Road, which was partially submerged Saturday by floodwaters from the Contoocook River, remained closed Sunday, Guinard said.

The spring-like weather and rain that caused the flooding was chased away by a sudden cold snap Saturday. That helped slow the melting and allowed ice jams to break up.

“We’ve had similar flooding in the past, but typically it’s in the spring when we have milder temperatures,” Guinard said Sunday. “The (road) icing is something we’ll have to deal with now along with the roadway damage.”

Bob Marine, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine, said southeastern Merrimack County remained under a flood warning along the Suncook River until Sunday night.

“That’s still due to the combined effect of the recent rain, snow melt and the ice jams, but the waters are receding and should fall below flood stage,” Marine said. “People should still be monitoring along rivers and streams for any sudden changes.”

Highs today are expected to reach only the teens or low 20s, he said.

COURTESY OF JEREL SPECK Ice jams in the Piscataquog River caused some weekend flooding on River Road in New Boston.

The return to bitter cold was welcome in New Boston, where Fire Chief Dan MacDonald said three ice jams were threatening the community on Saturday; they but broke up before causing significant damage.

“Everything is back to normal, but it was very interesting,” MacDonald said Sunday.

Flooding along the south branch of the Piscataquog River temporarily covered both lanes of Route 13.

“I would have never in my wildest imagination dreamed that those ice jams would have broken apart as quickly and basically disappear,” MacDonald said.

Guinard said Peterborough also caught a break when the temperature plummeted enough to slow the melting and allow the ice jams to break up.

One of Guinard’s officers had to brave the frigid water while rescuing a woman from a car that was partially submerged when Concord Street flooded Saturday. 

Officer Juan Lluberes waded through waist-deep water to get to the driver, then carried her to higher ground and helped her into an ambulance.

“He’s doing fine,” Guinard said of the officer. “He got a little wet and his equipment was a little wet, but it was a very heroic thing for him to do.” 

Just a week earlier, Guinard said Lluberes helped rescue a woman from a house fire.

“We’re very proud of him,” Guinard said. 

By late this week, temperatures could climb into the 40s, Marine said.

A storm headed up the Atlantic Coast was expected to hit New Hampshire late Tuesday and continue into Wednesday.

“You’re only looking at just a few inches,” Marine said. “It’s not going to be a major storm. There will be very limited moisture with it and it will be moving very quickly.”

dalden@unionleader.com


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