RJ150: When floods submerged downtown Meriden causing millions in damage

RJ150: When floods submerged downtown Meriden causing millions in damage

Record-Journal


MERIDEN — Twenty-five years ago Hanover Street was best crossed by boat after heavy thunderstorms dumped eight inches of rain on Meriden, flooding the downtown and causing $14 million in damage to the city.

The deluge began on June 5, 1992 and continued into the following day causing Harbor Brook to overflow and inundate the downtown and surrounding neighborhoods. Roads became rivers and backyards ponds. Residents reported basements filled with up to five feet of water.

On West Main Street, floodwaters submerged police cruisers to the roof.

In one photo from June 8, 1992, Meriden resident Randy McPherson and Tim Martin can be seen paddling through downtown Meriden past Verdolini’s Restaurant, one of the storm’s commercial casualties. Some residents, such as Eliza Rivera, took more creative approaches to traversing the city, attempting to cut through the waters on a BMX bike.

Another massive flood struck again in April 1996, dumping 5 inches on the city and causing another $12 million in damage.

Major flooding in Meriden was first reported in the 1860s and “the legendary 100-year floods have since come about every 10 years,” former Record-Journal Editor Barbara C. White noted in a 1997 Editorial, remarking the 1992 disaster cost the city “a popular restaurant, a large furniture retailer and a number of smaller commercial businesses.”

Although the Meriden Green may be a scenic park for residents to enjoy, it was engineered primarily as a flood control basin to hold excess waters from Harbor Brook in the event of the next major storm.

ltauss@record-journal.com

203-317-2231 Twitter: @LeighTaussRJ


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