Sullivan County towns recovering from weekend flooding

Trevor Marsh, of Plainfield, looks into the hole left by Saturday's flood waters on Grantham Mountain Road in Meriden, N.H., on Monday, June 19, 2023. Marsh's parents live nearby and he was looking over the damage from the storm. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Trevor Marsh, of Plainfield, looks into the hole left by Saturday's flood waters on Grantham Mountain Road in Meriden, N.H., on Monday, June 19, 2023. Marsh's parents live nearby and he was looking over the damage from the storm. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News photographs — James M. Patterson

Ken Spiel, of Croydon, climbs up Sand Hill Road in Newport, N.H., on Monday, June 19, past a culvert that washed out on the dead-end in heavy rain on Saturday. Spiel, who also has a home in North Fort Myers, Fla., that was flooded in Hurricane Ian last year that he has gutted and is renovating, said he was pleased that crews worked to make the road passable on Sunday. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Ken Spiel, of Croydon, climbs up Sand Hill Road in Newport, N.H., on Monday, June 19, past a culvert that washed out on the dead-end in heavy rain on Saturday. Spiel, who also has a home in North Fort Myers, Fla., that was flooded in Hurricane Ian last year that he has gutted and is renovating, said he was pleased that crews worked to make the road passable on Sunday. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Katie Mans, right, and her daughter Louise Mans, 8, of Plainfield, skip rocks together on Bloods Brook in Meriden, N.H., on Monday, June 19, 2023, after looking at the washout damage behind the Meriden Deli Mart from heavy rains on Saturday.(Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Katie Mans, right, and her daughter Louise Mans, 8, of Plainfield, skip rocks together on Bloods Brook in Meriden, N.H., on Monday, June 19, 2023, after looking at the washout damage behind the Meriden Deli Mart from heavy rains on Saturday.(Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. James M. Patterson

Donna Beaupre looks for identifying information on a broken platter in Meriden, N.H., on Monday, June 19, 2023, after finding it in a stone wall that was washed out during heavy rains on Saturday. While looking over damage from the storm with her husband Steve, middle, she said her son Darrell Beaupre, left, used to bring home treasures as a child from the wall that was used as a dump for broken glass, pottery and metal implements by former owners of the property. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Donna Beaupre looks for identifying information on a broken platter in Meriden, N.H., on Monday, June 19, 2023, after finding it in a stone wall that was washed out during heavy rains on Saturday. While looking over damage from the storm with her husband Steve, middle, she said her son Darrell Beaupre, left, used to bring home treasures as a child from the wall that was used as a dump for broken glass, pottery and metal implements by former owners of the property. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. James M. Patterson

Damage remains in front of the road of Steve and Donna Beaupre on Grantham Mountain Road in Meriden, N.H., on Monday, June 19, 2023, where a large culvert washed out in heavy rains on Saturday. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Damage remains in front of the road of Steve and Donna Beaupre on Grantham Mountain Road in Meriden, N.H., on Monday, June 19, 2023, where a large culvert washed out in heavy rains on Saturday. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News — James M. Patterson

By PATRICK ADRIAN

Valley News Staff Writer

Published: 06-19-2023 7:43 PM

MERIDEN — Several communities in Sullivan County are assessing the damage to their roads after flash flooding from heavy rains on Saturday overwhelmed culverts and washed away road materials.

In Meriden, a village of Plainfield, stormwaters during the early afternoon on Saturday poured down Red Hill Road and Marsh Hill Road and converged at their intersection, creating a stronger stream. That water descended Red Hill Road to the bottom of the hill — pulling up dirt and gravel in the process — where the stream converged with floodwater on Grantham Mountain Road nearing the intersection with Route 120.

Doug Beaupre, who lives on Red Hill Road, was away from his house when his wife called and told him that the end of their driveway “was gone.”

“I was just envisioning a little bump,” said Beaupre, who had to park his car at his neighbor’s house because the crevice at the end of his driveway was too wide and deep to cross.

Town road crews arrived on Sunday at 6 p.m. with truckloads of dirt and gravel to replace the side of Red Hill Road that had washed away.

Town Manager Stephen Halleran said Red Hill Road is only “fixed up in the relative sense” to make it accessible and drivable in both directions.

But the damage to Grantham Mountain Road is far more severe. The flood washed out over 300 feet of road material, including asphalt, with crevices of as much as 10-feet deep in some places.

Steve Beaupre, Doug Beaupre’s father, lives on the corner of Grantham Mountain Road where the washout occurred.

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Beaupre estimated about 3 inches of rain fell between 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. The rain flooded Bloods Brook, which runs parallel to Grantham Mountain Road before entering a large culvert, approximately 4 feet in diameter, that passes underneath the road.

Normally at this time of year Bloods Brook is only a few feet wide and relatively shallow. But in photos taken of the flood by Beaupre, the waters had overtaken the brook’s embankments, consuming much of a large pasture owned by Beaupre.

“This was by far the worst I’ve seen in my 60-some-odd years of living here,” Beaupre said. “The water came all the way to the base of the sugar house” that is located more than 40 feet away from the brook.

The water passed over the road and dropped back into the brook with the intensity of a miniature Niagara Falls, Beaupre said, showing how the grasses and plants along the roadside had been flattened by the flood.

Plainfield Selectboard members will be visiting the damage to Grantham Mountain Road on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m., where they will discuss repair options.

“There’s no question we will be doing repairs,” Halleran said. “Though we probably won’t redo the pavement this year.”

The town will likely fill the road with dirt and gravel as a temporary solution, Halleran explained. The asphalt portion will need to be completely redone.

The town is now waiting to learn if FEMA, or Federal Emergency Management Agency, will declare the damage eligible for emergency funding, which will cover a significant portion of the repair costs.

According to Halleran, there must be enough damage countywide and statewide from this flood event to qualify for FEMA funding.

While Halleran is uncertain about flood damage statewide, he is confident that Sullivan County met the minimum dollar-amount damage requirement, as several towns — including Newport and Cornish — also suffered significant road damage on Saturday.

In Newport, stormwater flooded the drainage system on Sand Hill Road, washing away about 150 feet of the dirt road. The washout affected a handful of homeowners who lived on the dead-end portion of the road, though neighbors said road crews arrived around 5:30 p.m. Saturday after the storm subsided, where they replaced the culvert and added in road fill to restore travel access.

Town Manager Hunter Rieseberg said Sand Hill Road sustained the worst damage on Saturday, though about “a half-dozen other roads,” including Fletcher Road and a portion of Maple Street, also were impacted.

Rieseberg said Monday that Public Works Director Todd Cartier was inspecting the damage and the town would be compiling a list of roads needing repair before discussing next steps, which will also include seeking eligibility for FEMA funding.

“It was quite a nasty and focused storm,” Rieseberg said. “We’ll want to see a tally of the final damage. But right now all the roads are accessible. We’ll be coming out with a plan for the final repairs over the next week or so.”

Flooding also caused significant damage to three roads in Croydon, including Brighton Road, Winter Road and Croydon Brook Road.

Croydon Selectboard Chairwoman Aimee Freak said that highway and fire department crews repaired the roads to make them accessible, though Croydon Brook Road will need a full asphalt repaving.

Like Plainfield, Croydon has already reached out to New Hampshire Homeland Security and Emergency Management to inquire about FEMA funding.

Freak praised the work of Fire Warden Jason Rook and Highway Agent Beaulieu and their crews for their swift response to the flooding.

“It almost looks like it didn’t happen in some places,” Freak said about the damaged roads.

Patrick Adrian may be reached at padrian@vnews.com or at 603-727-3216.