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Rising river ravages historic N.H. covered bridge - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Rising river ravages historic N.H. covered bridge

Bath, New Hampshire - January 26, 2010

Water continued to pour under the covered bridge in Bath, N.H., but by Tuesday afternoon, the level dropped a lot compared with 12 hours earlier. It's all due to a rainstorm that ripped through the region Monday.

"Last night was crazy," said Joel Godston of North Haverhill, N.H. "We saw winds that I would guess were 45 to 50 miles an hour and trees we bending over and breaking off."

Late Monday night and into Tuesday morning the Ammonoosuc River continued to rise and rescue officials knew there was going to be trouble at the bridge.

"Upon my arrival... I watched the water and ice going under the bridge and it was almost touching the bottom of the side boards there was so much water and ice going by," Bath Police Chief Dennis MacKay said.

Ice had given way up steam and began pounding the bridge's support beams. Ice chucks clogged the hydro plant intake area just below the bridge causing a deluge that destroyed the driveway below. The bridge was closed indefinitely because of damaged supports and remnants of the flooding still remain down river.

"There was no question in my mind that the bridge was going to sustain some damage," MacKay said. "I actually turned on the video camera in my car because I was half expecting it to get swept downstream."

Large blocks of ice completely blanket low-lying fields on the river's edge. Several roads that were closed Monday night have been re-opened except for the Abbott Ave, which was still closed to traffic Tuesday evening.

"It was ice-out," MacKay explained. "It came down from Littleton, Lisbon, Sugar Hill; a couple different tributaries that fed into it."

It's something that happens every couple of years in this part of Ammonoosuc River which residents seem to take in stride.

"We'll survive, we will," Godston said. "People up here are in God's country and they are resilient."

Two homes had to be evacuated during the flood, but law enforcement officials say that luckily, despite the fury on this raging river, no injuries have been reported.

Grafton County has a "Code Red" alert system that dials residents near the Ammonoosuc River when flood dangers are high. That system was used Monday night.

Adam Sullivan - WCAX News

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