by Terry Rogers
On Tuesday, September 11, a thunderstorm with heavy rain caused a flash flood in downtown Milford, leading to flooded homes and businesses. Photos and videos on social media showed water deep enough in the parking lot of Arena’s and Fur-Baby Boutique for kayaking and canoeing. Angela Dorey of Dorey Insurance posted video of almost a foot of water filling her insurance office which is located across from Bicentennial Park.
“I had to close my door to keep waves of water from rushing into my office as cars drove by,” Dorey said. “I had never seen anything like this. My landlord, Mr. Scanlon, brought over sandbags, but water kept rushing into the office. The water did recede and it looks like I will only need to replace some bookshelves that were damaged.” Dorey posted a live video on social media showing how she and her assistant had unplugged all electronics, moving them above the rising water.
According to Eric Norenberg, City Manager, the flooding was caused by heavy rain in a short period of time falling on impervious surfaces and a ground that was already saturated from the rain over the weekend.
“I don’t have an inventory of all of the damages to private properties, but I am aware of buildings on Northeast Front, Southwest Front, Church, Park and Walnut that had some minor to significant water intrusion,” Norenberg said. “City Hall’s basement flooded, part of the Public Works building had water intrusion, some water entered he basement and ceiling of Customer Service, and most of our sewage pump stations were overwhelmed. In addition, some landscaping in parks, etc., sustained some damage. We are still gathering details.”
Norenberg explained that the City tried to be proactive with the predicted weather by clearing catch basins and stormwater inlets throughout the community. After the rainstorm, the City went out to clear catch basins, placed sandbags around pump stations, checked power lines for trees and limbs that could cause outages while also reminding contractors to secure construction scaffolding. The City also reminded private owners of retention basins to check and clear inlets and outfalls.
Early Wednesday morning, many residents of Milford also experienced a power outage. Norenberg explained that the power outage was the result of another thunderstorm that developed in the early morning hours and not related to the flooding. In addition, on Friday, volunteers for the Milford Police Department were offering sand bags to businesses and residences located along the river to help prevent any flooding that may occur during Hurricane Florence. No flooding was reported as the hurricane remained far south of Delaware, however.
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