Well, folks, what a storm, what a peculiar storm. In the history of Mill River floods that goes back 350 years, this was one of the few times that the Connecticut River tributaries had record high water, while the big river remained well below record levels. This is chiefly due to the season of the year — it’s late summer, and there’s no snow pack to add to the big river, so, while the Connecticut is plenty high, it’s not the main source of our farmers’ woes. It’s the Deerfield River, for example, that did most of the damage in the Pioneer Valley.
Furthermore, summer floods, caused by hurricanes, tend to be pretty flashy. Look at the Mill River statistics in today’s Gazette: The Mill River peaked at a record high of 16.42 feet at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, eclipsing the old record of 15.6 feet. The river had receded to 6.95 feet as of Tuesday afternoon. All of you who got out on Sunday and then viewed the situation on Monday, caught the meaning of the term “flash flood,” and you’ve got a hint of the fear that the Mill River brought to the valley that dreadful morning of May 16th, 1874, when the dam on the Mill River’s East Branch failed and caused the flash flood that killed 139 people.