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Hundreds Flee Floodwaters in New England

April 01, 1987|From Associated Press

Flooding in New England forced people from their homes, washed away a historic covered bridge and damaged two dams today.

Maine Gov. John R. McKernan Jr. declared a state of emergency, allowing application for federal aid and mobilization of the National Guard, as flooding described as the worst in half a century increased around the state.

At least 250 people were evacuated in the state, including more than 100 moved from a nursing home in Canton by National Guard trucks.

A 75-foot section of earth washed away at the edge of a retaining wall near a hydroelectric dam in Livermore Falls, Me. A hydroelectric dam in the early stages of construction on the Androscoggin River at Lisbon "is gone" a police officer said.

A historic covered bridge over the Piscataquis River was washed away at Guilford, Me. Central Maine Power Co. cut off power to the area for fear that live electric lines running over other bridges would be snapped if the spans washed out.

City Hall Evacuated

In the state capital of Augusta, City Hall was evacuated and the Kennebec River was expected to crest at 21 feet above flood stage, three feet higher than during the record 1936 flood.

About 75 families were evacuated in Plymouth, N.H., and about 60 people were evacuated in Claremont. Roads were closed in more than 60 places around New Hampshire, said Ken Jollimore of the state Civil Defense.

About 30 families were forced from their homes in Island Pond, Vt.

The flooding was caused by melting snow and a storm bearing 50-m.p.h. winds and as much as five inches of rain that cut power to thousands after dumping more than a foot of snow in the Ohio Valley.

In Rochester, Vt., Brian Bissonette found his expensive DeLorean car afloat. "It's something they didn't include in the advertising," he said of the vehicle's buoyancy. "Actually, they float quite nicely."

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