Severe Flooding in Northeast Affects Covenanters

Post a Comment » Written on May 15th, 2006     
Filed under: News
By Stan Friedman

WEST PEABODY, MA (May 15, 2006) – Members of Evangelical Covenant churches have been pumping water from their homes due to the worst flooding that has hit parts of New England since 1936, Covenant News Service has learned.

The storms, which also flooded many roads, kept attendance down at several churches Sunday. “Attendance was really down, and it’s usually full on Mothers Day,” says Robert Bergquist, pastor of Bethany Covenant Church in Bedford, New Hampshire.

Pastor Joel Anderle reports that the church basement of Community Covenant Church in West Peabody sustained minor flood damage, but the situation is much worse elsewhere. “I think a lot of people here have flooded basements. It will take several days before we know the full extent,” Anderle notes.

The basement of Linda Williams’ home in New Market, New Hampshire, was flooded. She is the director of Christian education at Monadnock Covenant Church in East Swanzey.

Williams was constantly emptying four wet/dry vacuums to keep the water from rising more than two inches in her basement. “As soon as you empty them, the water has risen again,” she says.

“It’s just amazing to watch water move through your house,” Williams says, likening it to waves rolling over a person’s feet at the beach. “It’s surreal.” The Williams’s yard has up to six inches of standing water, their well has water rushing over the top, and the street is blocked off at two ends. “The ground is so saturated it has nowhere to go.”

Neighbors are helping each other clean up the damage, says Anderle. They are sharing vacuums and pumps, which are sold out at every store.

Anderle has been helping neighbors pump water from their basements in what sometimes feels like a futile effort. “As soon as the water is pumped out, more water comes up through the concrete,” he says. “It’s like a science fiction movie; you can stand there and watch it come up from underneath.”

Where water hasn’t flooded an entire road, up to eight inches is flowing with a current that would be strong enough to knock down even a 12-year-old, Anderle reports “It’s kind of scary.”

Anderle is counting his blessings. The community of Peabody several miles away, was under five feet of water and was being patrolled by the National Guard.

The flooding will continue to worsen. Several major rivers are rising near Peabody, and forecasters believe they will overflow their banks, flooding even more neighborhoods. The National Weather Service says the rains likely will continue at least through the next two days.

The flooding is the third the Williams family has lived through in the last two years. Her brother’s home was heavily damaged by Katrina and her house in Keene suffered water damage from the severe flooding that hit that area last year.

“It’s just strange that we’ve been hit by three storms,” she says.

Copyright © 2011 The Evangelical Covenant Church.

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