Updated 1:05 p.m.
Heavy rains and melting snow have created havoc on Southington roads, leading police to close roads in 11 different areas, as well as monitoring potential road flooding in five other places according to the Southington Police Department.
The flooding first started overnight as a result of heavy rains, police said, and almost immediately impacted Curtiss Street, leading it to be closed between Hart Street and North Main Street. From there, dispatchers said water has crested over the road in multiple places making it impossible for motorists to pass.
One family of two has been evacuated as a result of the flooding, fire officials said.
“If there is a road block in place, the best advice we can give people is don’t drive through it,” said Lt. Doug Roy of the Southington Fire Department. “We have already had numerous calls for cars that have tried to drive around barricades and found themselves stuck.”
When motorists ignore signs or barricades and cars become stuck, its not only be damaging on the vehicle but presents a safety hazard that ties up firefighters, Roy said.
Roads are also closed this morning along Main Street (Route 10) between Maple Street and South Main Street, Mill Street between North Main Street and Water Street, Darling Street in the area of Whitney Avenue, Queen Street in the area of River Street, Meriden-Waterbury Road near the Southington Drive-In, Jude Lane near Monarch Drive and South Main Street near the bowling alley, police said.
The morning flooding has also led police to close off the entrance to Maxwell Noble Drive, which is normally a one way road leading into Recreation Park, forcing the exit to become a two-way.
Potential flooding is also being monitored along Woodruff Street near Marcy Drive and Memorial Park, Kensington Road in the area of Andrews Street, Flanders Street in the area of Flanders Road and Summer Street near Brunelli Construction.
Public works personnel said flooding hasn’t been the only problem this morning, however, and staff are currently investigating potential sewer back-ups on both Maxwell Noble Drive and along Stonegate Road, which has seen back-up problems since 2007 when water and sewerage spilled back into homes along the road.
Further details of the sewer back-ups were not released, although town officials acknowledged that water has spilled into at least six homes along the street.
The National Weather Service has issued a flood warning through midday and could extend it further if waters are not able to drain properly.
The U.S. Geological Survey, which has a station in Wallingford, is reporting that the water has crested at 11.44 feet along the Quinnipiac River this morning and local police said it has played “only very slightly” in the local road closures, particularly the one along Curtiss Street.
Water Street was also closed at about 11:20 a.m. as a result of river flooding. In fact much of the area around Mill Street resembled more of a pond than road as a result of water coming down from the hill and flooding from the river that spilled over onto roads.
Fire officials warn residents to stay out of the water because although it may seem still, the waters can develop strong currents.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, it is considered “moderate flooding” when the river reaches such a height but officials said the town has been fortunate because most of the river is low-lying and the heavy volume has not been overly disturbing to the homes in the community.
“Fortunately it hasn’t had a tremendous impact on people in general,” Said Robert Verderame, Calendar House director and members of the Community Emergency Response Team. “We are always on standby but fortunately the need hasn’t been great enough.”
That hasn’t stopped the water from affecting local residents directly. Fire officials have responded to “several dozen” calls regarding basement flooding, Roy said, and firefighters are even having a hard time keeping up with call volumes.
“In most cases, all we can tell residents is to try and find a sump pump and to shut off oil burners or furnaces if the water begins to impede on them,” Roy said. “There are so many calls, we are doing the best we can but if there are no immediate dangers it is taking some time to respond.”
Roy said residents should take precaution and not let water run into a running oil burner or furnace, otherwise it can create smoke, fire and other hazards. Most electrical panels are sitting about 4-feet high, but if water starts to creep toward electrical panels, shut off the electricity and call 9-1-1, he said.
While many are struggling to deal with the odd weather, some are using the excitement to enjoy their day. Beth Kostenko and her friend Mary Maloney were out and about, taking pictures and enjoying the crazy weather.
“We do this right after snow storms and all kinds of weather,” Kostenko said. “It gets you out and it’s a lot of fun.”