Monday, March 15, 2010

Ipswich River Flood Stage

In May of 2006 the Ipswich River north of Boston, MA, reached a flow of 4520 cubic feet per second, higher than any gauge reading since records have been kept. Most of downtown Ipswich went underwater, including our basement. It was a unique situation where an already saturated water table was then hit with a week of solid rain.

In this photo, taken by my husband during the 2006 flood, there should be a dam with a significant drop. You can see the "bump" to the left where the water is going over the dam. The EBSCO publishing building in the background had about five feet of water in it and old copies of periodicals floating all around.

A similar scenario happened again this past weekend. Anyone living in New England went through a massive nor'easter at the end of February. Winds topped 80 miles and hour and damage was comparable to a category two hurricane. There was a lot of rain but rivers stayed within their banks, although the Ipswich River did hit its seven foot flood stage, topping off at 7.09 feet (you can see the peak from February 28th/29th to the right, click graph for the most recent USGS data).

Then this past Saturday it started to rain, again. More than four inches were predicted. This morning I heard on New England Cable News that Topsfield, MA, (one town upstream from mine) received ten inches of rain in the past two days. TEN INCHES! There was no way the Ipswich River was not going to flood.

I'm headed off to bed in a minute with my sump pump plugged in, float switch ready to trigger it on if needed. The sump pit is full of water but the gravel floor is dry...for now. The river is at 8.5 feet, you can see it in the graph above updated by the US Geologic Survey at 6 PM tonight. The river went over ten feet in the 2006 floods, so we'll see what morning brings.

On the bright side, the sun is supposed to come out tomorrow and all this rain gave Lizzie and me an excuse to wear our matching ladybug boots. A big promise to bring you all photos of the flooding tomorrow, hopefully the sun will be out and the light will be good...and we'll still be high enough and dry.


  1. That is very scary. Good luck. I hope you remain dry. Wishing for lots of sunshine to come your way.

  2. Wow, let's hear it for sunshine! You guys up there have gotten some of the absolutely worst weather ever, but on Facebook I learned that you are a super sump pump engineer. Good think. And oh yes, those ladybug boots are just wonderful.

  3. I love your matching boots. I hope your basement stayed dry though!

    I also LOVED the last post and the chickadee feeder and the whole story - made me smile and smile!

    I'm passing along a Happiness Blogger Award to you for that and more. I wrote about why in my latest post on This Northwest Life.

    Stay dry!

  4. Rae: the sun is shining! yay! downtown is underwater but we're OK :)

    DJan: we really have had some nasty weather, the weather is exciting but the clean up isn' least I have my plumbing skills and ladybug boots right? :)

    Maurie: We're totally ridiculous in those boots and I love it! thanks for your words about the chicakdee post, it was fun to write. And thanks for the award! I'll get over to your blog soon and check that out.


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