Ice dam floods Plymouth area, PSU student parking
HOLDERNESS — The Pemigewasset River spilled over its banks near downtown Sunday, causing problems for Plymouth State University students and stores along Route 175A in an area known to flood in the spring.
Firefighters closed the road at about noon and reopened it at 4 p.m., according to Fire Chief Eleanor Mardin.
Plymouth State University students learned about the high water the hard way, discovering their cars were parked in several flooded college lots.
“We were brought to our cars in the bed of trucks at about 9:15 a.m., and when we got out the water was up over our knees,” student Makenzie Driscoll said.
“It was fast and very cold, and our cars were covered with water over the hoods. As soon as I opened the door of my Ford Explorer, water soaked the floor mats,” she said.
Driscoll could drive away. Others were not so lucky.
“My truck is stuck,” said student Lyssa Kroleski. “When I got to the parking lots there was already about two feet of water. I went back to my dorm to grab my portable charger and by the time I got back down there at around 10:30, the lot was blocked off and there’s now about four-and-a-half feet of water there.”
Authorities in Plymouth and Holderness recommended that residents on North and South River Street in Holderness and Old North Main Street in Plymouth evacuate because of the flooding, caused by at least one ice dam in the river, according to Plymouth Fire Lt. Brian Tobine.
Much of New Hampshire was under a flood watch declared by National Weather Service just after 3 a.m. and in effect through Sunday night.
The Weather Service said recent warm temperatures generated significant melting of the winter snowpack. Recent rainfall also elevated water levels on area rivers and streams.
Plymouth State University has several buildings in Holderness but the newer buildings were elevated to protect them from flooding. Area businesses, including two gas stations/convenience stores, closed late Sunday morning. Annie's Overflow Restaurant was named for the flooding along Route 175A that happens every few years.
The restaurant stayed open Sunday, employee Patty Quinn said.
“We’re still here,” Quinn said. “But there’s a lot of water around us.”