Remnants of Michael cause flood concern for New London County

NORWICH — The former Hurricane Michael isn’t directly impacting us, but the remnants are a real flooding concern, especially in New London County.

There was  flooding on the Norwich boat launch where the ramp was underwater and the water level covered the parking lot.

Lieutenant Jake Manke is the Acting Emergency Management Director for Norwich. “Always prepare first and respond second so preparedness should be done already by our local residents,” he said.

That’s what residents like Leslie McComiskey do every storm. “Every time there is a flash flood watch we are always worried. Actually this morning I came out and blew all the leaves.” She was trying to keep her storm drains clear. She lives in a low lying area. Leslie showed us photos of what her back yard looks like when the culvert blocks. “Water rises and goes into our neighbors yard and then turns into a river in our yard,” she said.

That’s where the Norwich DPW comes in. Joshua Kinney works for the Norwich DPW and on this day was cleaning the culverts. “To carry the water out and to get the debris so the water can flow free,” said Kinney. Norwich has more than 100 culverts, and they're not the only problem.

“Beavers can cause a problem. Yes, yes they can,” said Kinney. The beaver dams divert and obstruct the natural flow of water, and speaking of water...too much of it doesn’t help fishermen like Chris Harwood. “Tends to wash them back out toward the sound. So fishing in my opinion hasn’t been that good,” he said.

If things gets really bad, emergency resources are standing by. They have stacks of sand bags at the Emergency Management Support Facility. They have 1,000 sand bags ready to go and the capacity to store 17,000 and make 100 an hour with a special sand bag machine. They also have disaster trailers, and a rescue boat.

Norwich isn’t exactly a seaside community, but it’s flooding problems are unique because the city sits at the intersection of three rivers, the Yantic, Shetucket and the Thames.