Monday, July 31, 2023

A Wet Summer

It is official! July 2023 was the wettest July on record in New Hampshire. For details see the links here

In addition, the National Weather Service issued 38 flash flood warnings for New Hampshire in the whole month of July. No previous full year has seen more than 36 flash flood warnings. The previous record for flash flood warnings issued in a month was 17 in October 1996. For details see the link here.

What have we learned from this almost constant deluge? What can we learn from the past? 

Floods are nothing new in New Hampshire. 

The booklet about the 1936 flood, seen above, can be found in the Conway Public Library's Henney History Room here

The governor of the time proclaimed that it was the "Greatest Disaster to Befall State."
The booklet includes 110 devastating photographs documenting 52 cities and towns in the flood area. 

Records of floods in Conway go back at least to 1770. 
In his 1792 History of New Hampshire, Jeremy Belknap reports on the floods of 1775 in which  "Stacks of hay were carried off, cattle were drowned or otherwise killed, and the Indian corn, then ripe for harvest, was destroyed." 

You can read about it in our original copy of the book here or online here.
The oldest remaining house in town, now the 1785 Country Inn, was originally built in 1766 - 1767 on the intervale or valley near the Saco River. However, after a flood in 1785 it was moved higher above the flood plain where it stands now. You can read about see that on their website here

Janet Hounsell, notes that this building also served as the first library in Conway. 

In 1869 a flood swept away the covered bridges on both the Swift and Saco River.

For more information on floods and freshets contact us at the Conway Public Library's Henney History Room.