Archive for Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Crews search for four missing in floods

October 12, 2005

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— Where Sally and Tim Canfield's home once stood, there is only open land. Their home was washed away by floodwaters, and two days after the rains subsided, their family found no trace of them.

Rescue crews and police dogs searched rivers and woods Tuesday for the Canfields and two others missing in New Hampshire after a weekend of heavy downpours that left at least 10 people dead from Maine to Pennsylvania.

"We didn't find any bodies," said a brother-in-law, Rick Mason, who spent time with crews looking for the Canfields. "First there was Katrina, then there was the earthquake, but this is pretty devastating right here."

At least one of those missing in New Hampshire, a 67-year-old kayaker, was feared dead.

Gov. John Lynch said the floods were the worst the state had experienced in a quarter-century, and he sought a federal disaster declaration. Teams from the Federal Emergency Management Agency were expected to arrive later this week.

In Greenfield, Mass., where floods wrecked 40 trailers in a mobile home park, the mayor said repairs would cost more than $1 million. The flooding damaged a bridge and a dam, washed out a road, cracked sewer mains and left at least 70 residents homeless, Mayor Christine Forgey said.

She declared a state of emergency and said she also would need state and federal help. "There is no way we could foot this bill," she said.


A house is shown Tuesday in Alstead, N.H., where it was deposited after being torn from its foundation and carried downstream by heavy rains this weekend.

A house is shown Tuesday in Alstead, N.H., where it was deposited after being torn from its foundation and carried downstream by heavy rains this weekend.

From Friday evening through Sunday, storms dumped as much as 10 inches of rain on New England and the mid-Atlantic states. In New Hampshire, Hinsdale got 10.8 inches and Keene 10.5.

Just as the region began to dry out, forecasters warned that there could be more flooding if rainfall exceeded the 1 to 2 inches expected through today.

The floods forced the evacuation of 1,000 New Hampshire residents. Officials went door-to-door Tuesday to check on the condition of many homes. A stretch of at least 50 homes along one road had some type of damage; officials said a dozens houses were washed away. Some residents found they did not have much to return to.

"There's four feet of mud on our first floor," said Wendy Gendron, who was evacuated with her family Sunday. "There is no back yard anymore."

Police in Alstead discovered that the flood had washed away their station.

"All of our police records, computers, weapons ... everything that was in there is gone. It's destroyed," said Police Chief Christopher Lyons.

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