MILFORD – A flash flood crashed into Milford Tuesday afternoon causing panic for residents, business owners and local leaders.
Water seemed to reach its highest points in the downtown areas closest to the Mispillion River due to higher water tables, according to Mayor Archie Campbell.
“Drainage is not well there. It’s the water table; the water has no place to go,” Mayor Campbell said. “There’s water in the basement at City Hall now, too. There’s offices there, computers, equipment down there… I heard they had to do a car rescue today, too… rescued somebody out of their car at the hospital. That’s where we’re at right now.”
City Manager Eric Norenberg said although rumors swirled of a sewer main break, no such damage occurred during the flash flood Tuesday. Other damages, however, were noticeable to officials.
“There was no sewer main break. At the peak of the storm, the Kent County pump station was at capacity and that backed up our Washington Street pump station to capacity as well. Our wastewater system in the downtown area was flooded leading to some pump failures. This did cause some sewage to back up into stormwater mains near Denny Row for a short time. Pumps were manually restarted by our public works staff.”
While city of Milford employees began cleaning up from the flash flooding, the storm continued to affect people in the area. Susan Newark of Greenwood, for example, said water was up to her knees in the afternoon while she picked up her grandson from LuLu Ross Elementary School.
“I’ve never seen it that bad,” she said. “I am worried what’s going to happen when hurricane rains come. The ground can only hold so much.”
The flash flood Tuesday came in between days of rain and Hurricane Florence which is positioned to hit the area later this week.
“I don’t think anyone was expecting the amount of rain that came in a short period this afternoon. Today’s rain could not be absorbed by very saturated earth following the rains this past weekend. Yesterday, we began preparations for Florence and that included clearing catch basins and storm drains to facilitate flow,” Mr. Norenberg said.
“We have been gearing up for the impacts of Florence that were forecast to possibly arrive Friday, potentially bringing more rain during the weekend. We have a staff meeting tomorrow to assess the latest DEMA and National Weather Service forecasts and review preparations. Afterwards, there will be updated communication to businesses and residents about such things as sandbags.”
Governor John Carney issued the following statement Sunday regarding possible weather conditions and encouraged Delawareans to follow the latest forecasts and emergency preparedness resources online, stating, “The Delaware Emergency Management Agency is closely monitoring the approach of Hurricane Florence, as well as Hurricane Isaac farther out in the Atlantic. We are communicating and coordinating with Delaware state agencies, local partners, FEMA officials, and authorities in surrounding states. Emergency management officials will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates on any protective actions that should be taken in response to Hurricane Florence. Delawareans and visitors should be prepared in the event that Delaware feels an impact from the storm. It is still too early to tell what impact Delaware will experience, but it is never too early to plan and ensure you are prepared. Delawareans should visit preparede.org for tips and monitor your local forecasts.”