Photo credit to Kim Howson/Facebook
'Buried in Ice and Water': NH Town Takes on River Flooding
LANCASTER — Lancaster's got a real jam going down in the Israel River, an ice jam.
The fluctuating temperatures this winter have caused an ice jam in the Israel River in northern New Hampshire Wednesday.
The ice jam flooded buildings in the surrounding area with several inches of water.
Lancaster Town Manager Ed Samson said a "tremendous amount" of water flooded the Town Hall basement, about 15 to 20 inches.
"It was a familiar sight," said Samson, who was the Lancaster police chief 13 out of the 27 years he spent on the force. He has been town manager the last 12 years.
The flooding damaged all the materials a nonprofit organization called Partners in Health, located in the Town Hall basement, had collected for the community. Samson said that most of PIH's clothing was destroyed by flooding, not only by the water but by the mud the river water brought in.
The Lancaster PIH location is currently not open for business and probably won't be for another estimated 30 days until the damage is fixed. For those interested in helping out check out Partners in Health's other New Hampshire locations.
Samson first heard of the start of the flood when Michael Holland, the owner of a microbrewery planning to open across the street, called Samson warning him about the start of the flood.
"I told him to get out of the building," Samson said.
That's when at 6 p.m. Samson, the Lancaster Fire Department, the Water and Sewage Department, and the highway crew reported to the river.
"You could be buried in ice and water within 5 seconds," Samson said.
The team continued to pump out the water for the first and second surges of flooding.
"Years ago, it was an annual occurrence," said Samson, regarding the flooding. In preparation, everything in the basement was elevated to avoid damage, but apparently, there is only so much one can do when located next to a river.
As far as being more prepared for the next ice jam, Samson said, "There is no action you can take to stop mother nature from doing her job."