DALTON — In what some say is an almost annual rite of spring, the Connecticut River overflowed New Hampshire Route 135 here on Monday, closing sections of it and Route 142 to traffic while also partially flooding a cemetery.
Dalton Fire Chief Ronald Sheltry said no one has been injured by the flooding, nor has his department been called to make any emergency rescues. He noted that as of Monday afternoon, the river had receded appreciably from where it had been just hours earlier.
Sheltry said there are four homes in the flooded zone between the intersection of Routes 135 and 142 and where Route 135 becomes Elm Street in Lancaster near the Mt. Orne Covered Bridge that spans the Connecticut and links Lancaster with Lunenberg, Vt.
Fire officials have spoken with residents in each affected dwelling and instructed them to call if they wanted or needed help,” but so far, none of them have, said Sheltry.
The flooding, Sheltry continued, “seems to happen every year,” adding that “the residents ride it out.”
This year, the Connecticut River flooded Route 135 to a depth of between two and three feet, Sheltry estimated, while in the past it has been “considerably deeper” with the Simonds Family once telling him that floodwaters reached the first-floor ceiling of their home.
The flooding “has been a considerable problem” over time, said Sheltry.
Along with the road flooding, there was also partial flooding of the Johns River Cemetery, which is on the east side of Route 135, immediately below its intersection with Route 142.
According to the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine, as of Monday, flood warnings remained in effect for the Connecticut River near Dalton and Wells River, Vt.,across from Woodsville; and for the Androscoggin River in Gorham.
The NWS said that at 1 p.m. Monday, the Connecticut River reached a depth of 22.1 feet, more than 5 feet above the flood stage of 17 feet. At the same time, the Androscoggin was .8 feet above its flood stage of 8 feet, and had flooded a parking lot of a business on Route 2.
Both the Connecticut and Androscoggin rivers were expected to keep receding into Tuesday, and National Weather Service did not foresee any flood hazards between then and Sunday.
In addition to dealing with the flooding on Routes 135 and 142 in Dalton, the New Hampshire Department of Transportation is responding to erosion of the Connecticut’s riverbank on Route 12A in Plainfield which is requiring one lane of alternating traffic.