The Connecticut River is already above flood stage in parts of Connecticut thanks to upstream snowmelt (in the Berkshire Hills and Green Mountains) and heavy rain in southern New England last night.
At this point the National Weather Service expects the river in Middletown to reach 13.3 feet by midday Thursday. In Hartford, the river is expected to reach 22.2 feet by Thursday. Both of these are well above flood stage. The Hartford crest will be in the “minor flood” category while the Middletown crest will be in the “moderate flood”
Here’s a look at the forecast river level in Middletown.
The green line is the forecast river stage or flow over the next 48 hours and you can see as the runoff from last night’s rain continues the river will rise quickly. Large rivers like the Connecticut crest slowly while small rivers like the Farmington crest more quickly.
Here’s a look at the Farmington River in Simsbury (which flows into the Connecticut River). The Farmington River is a tributary of the Connecticut and is forecast to crest near flood stage Wednesday afternoon. The Connecticut crest will be about a day after smaller rivers like the Farmington.
Generally the Connecticut River floods every year, especially in the spring. It’s nothing unusual to see the River above flood stage when snow melts up north and rain storms are likely in New England. Most of the time these floods are no big deal. People who live or work along the river are used to these rises every year.
Once flooding approaches the “major flood” category then it’s time to be concerned. The last time that happened along the Connecticut River was in May of 1984. Here are the crests that occured during the last major flood.
- Forecast crest on Thursday – 6.8′
- Major flood threshold – 9.0′
- 1984 crest – 10.8′
- Record crest – 16.6′ (March 1936)
- Forecast crest on Thursday – 22.2’+
- Major flood threshold – 28.0′
- 1984 crest – 30.74′
- Record crest – 37.6′ (March 1936)
- Forecast crest on Thursday – 13.3’+
- Major flood threshold – 15.0′
- 1984 crest – 21.27′
- Record crest – 28.2′ (March 1936)