THE HISTORIC FLOODS OF MARCH 29-31, 2010
 
Rainfall amounts of 5-6" in the Windham area paled in comparison to the 9-10" parts of Southeastern Connecticut and Rhode Island got.  But many people whose basements had never flooded had water downstairs after this storm, which fell on already saturated ground.  One reason the Windham area was spared heavier damage was Mansfield Hollow Dam, which reached its third highest level since it was completed in 1952.  After minimal water release for two days to protect downstream areas, the dam reached 48% of capacity at noon on April 1--a level of 45.41 feet.  That edged the week-long mid-October 2005 floods, which raised the level to 44.1 feet after 11.13 inches of rain between October 8-16.  The all-time record level is 52.6 feet in the first week of June 1982, followed by 51.8 feet in August 1955 after hurricanes Connie and Diane struck a week apart.  
 
These photos were taken on April 1, 2010 by WILI's Wayne Norman:
 
All five spillway gates were opened at noon on April 1
 
 
People often walk dogs and fly model planes in that area
 
Mansfield Hollow Dam's highest level since 1982.  The area of brush in the center is a mostly submerged tree!
 
 
Looking westward down the Natchaug River
 
Wayne Norman atop the dam
 
 
 
The horseshoe falls below the dam
 
The water at the falls is rarely this active
 
 
 
It's not often you see the double yellow line on Bassetts Bridge Road disappear underwater
 
The high water reached almost to the recreation area
 
An area off Bassetts Bridge Road which is rarely underwater
 
A photo taken from http://www.wunderground.com of the Hop River off Route 6 in Andover
 
These photos were taken by WILI's Colin Rice on April 1, 2010:
 
The OTHER side of the boat launch--Bassetts Bridge Road looking north from the North Windham end
 
 
High water off Bassetts Bridge Road east of the boat launch, which is under water in this shot
 
The raging Willimantic River, with the Thread City Crossing to the west--taken from the Bridge of Flowers
 
 
The Willimantic River flowing under the Bridge of Flowers by Heritage Park
 
Another look at the Thread City Crossing above the Willimantic River
 
The swollen Natchaug River looking north from Mansfield Road in North Windham, which becomes Bassetts Bridge Road
 
Bassetts Bridge Road is under that water somewhere and the boat launch is in the distance
 
These photos were taken by Eleanor Linkkila of Hampton on April 1, 2010:
 
Just below horseshoe falls, with the dam in the background 
 
Mansfield Hollow Dam at its high water mark--just over 45 feet
 
Spring buds on trees in high Natchaug River water below the North Windham Bridge
 
A close up shot of the dam's third highest water level ever
 
 
 
Ever see anyone kayaking east on Bassetts Bridge Road? -- Eleanor Linkkila photo from April 1
 
 
These photos were taken by Colin Rice Friday morning April 2:
 
Perfect reflection of high water on a calm lake
 
 
All five gates were still open Friday morning, but the dam level had only gone down one foot in 24 hours
But Friday morning, the receding water line was evident on Bassetts Bridge Road, east of the boat launch
 
These photos were taken by Owen "Mike" Freeman and submitted by his mother Annie Clark:
 
 
ArtSpace Apartments, on the Willimantic River, with the Thread City Crossing ("Frog Bridge") in the background.  Taken from the Garden on the Bridge on March 31, 2010.
 
Water rarely spills over that wall
 
Raging water under the Thread City Crossing
 
Under the Thread City Crossing
 
Taken from the Garden on the Bridge, looking south toward Pleasant Street
 
Looking downstream from the Garden on the Bridge
 
Looking behind ArtSpace
 
Spectators admiring the high water from the Garden On The Bridge
 
Note the flotsam:  Logs, sticks, 3 tires, tennis balls, and lots of Norwich-bound plastic
 
 
The mighty Willimantic (Willamansett) River passes Heritage Park and the former American Thread Mills just below the Garden On The Bridge
 
The dam behind the American Thread Company mill. Artist Andrew Wyeth did a painting of this for the Windham Textile and History Museum
 
Osprey fly under this bridge to the former Mill #4, which burned in 1995. Aerial clearance for the ospreys is lower on this day.
 
The Natchaug River, looking downstream.  Taken from the bridge on the East Coast Greenway bike trail on Saturday April 3.  Three days after the rain stopped, the river is still five feet higher than normal and going by at about 1500 cubic feet per second.
 
 
The Natchaug River--looking upstream toward Lauter Park on April 3.  This portion of the Natchaug is produced by the runoff from Mansfield Hollow Dam.  During the flooding, the Army Corps of Engineers held water in the dam and the Natchaug at this point was only about three feet deep on March 31.  But with downstream waters receding three days later, the Army Corps opened the floodgates, raising the water here to about eight feet. 
 
To see photos of some less severe flooding from June 2006, click here.
 
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