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NH Nature

New Hampshire Nature Notes by Eric Orff

Tuesday 09/09/2008 Another year and another 100-year flood on the Suncook River

Oh what a difference a day can make on the Suncook River. Last Saturday morning I was in shock when I first glanced at the Suncook River out of my home office window. The river was dry, or nearly so. Just down from my house at the top of the 90 degree bend was a sand bar reaching mostly across the river. This is not something I have seen in the 29 years I have lived overlooking the river. Never has the river been so low, or I guess there just never was a sand bar there before. Normally I could just barely touch in this section of the river when all the dam boards were in, in Pembroke at the Buck Street dam.

But since the floods of a couple years ago the Dams Bureau has been drawing the river way down when rain is predicted. And Tropical Storm Hanna was headed our way for Saturday afternoon. Heavy rains hit here about 3 pm and within a couple hours my rain gauge read 2 1/2 inches of rain. I knew the river was in for a rapid change. By night fall the gauge was over 3 inches and by Sunday morning with the rain gone it read just under 4 inches. But the river had risen 8 to 10 feet just overnight.

By my watch we were in to another 100-year flood. Although the level was not nearly as high as last year, it was just below the 2006 Mother's Day flood level. And of coarse there was the 100-year flooding of October 2005. The river sure is something to watch.


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