Raging floodwaters wreak havoc in Adams


ADAMS — A severe Wednesday morning downpour washed out driveways and a private bridge, upended a culvert and flooded numerous basements.

Adams emergency responders spent the morning pumping water out of basements and trying to clear the streets to allow the flow of traffic. Folks on Davis Street lost access to Lime Street because the flooding washed out the culvert along the Southwood Brook, leaving Davis Street impassable.

There was also flood damage along Grant and Lincoln streets. Town hall was hit, too, as water came pouring in through an electrical panel in the basement.

According to Dick Kleiner, emergency management director in Adams, it was a torrential downpour that started around 8 a.m. and lasted for about three hours. He compared the level of flooding to high water generated by Hurricane Irene in August 2011.

The 3-foot diameter bridge culvert on Davis Street "is as good as washed out," Kleiner said. "And the water took the road right with it."

The flooding caused the closure of Lime, Davis and North Summer streets.

On Davis Street, crews were trying to fill in gaps in the road caused by flood erosion, and residents along Southwood Brook were trying to assess the damage to their backyards.

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Nick Penna lost a 10-foot long bridge he had installed over the brook when the water turned the 10-foot wide brook into a 30-foot wide raging stream. His next door neighbor had past of is in-ground pool washed away.

At this point, they don't know if insurance will cover the damage, and the town is unsure how to pay for repairs to the washed-out culvert on Davis Street.

"We just got hit really hard," Kleiner said. "I don't know what happened."

According to Joe Villani, a meteorologist in the Albany office of the National Weather Service, Adams received two inches of rain or more in a short period, which resulted in overloaded storm drainage systems.

He said there may be some minor showers this morning, giving way to clearer skies in the afternoon and Friday, with daytime highs in the mid to upper 70s.

Donna Cesan, interim town administrator in Adams, said the damage to thew Davis Street culvert will be an expensive fix, one which the town cannot afford in this year's budget. As a result, she said, town officials will immediately start seeking federal or state funding to aid in the repair.

She added that planning specialists are predicting more of this type of precipitation — short bursts of voluminous downpours that overwhelm the current infrastructure — throughout the county, state and nation due to climate change. The only way to be ready is to prepare stormwater drainage to handle larger volumes of moving water with bigger culverts and other infrastructure improvements, Cesan said.

Scott Stafford can be reached at sstafford@berkshireeagle.com or 413-629-4517.


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