Tuesday, October 11, 2005

50 years ago…

Nature seems know. With day after day of showers and downpours, she must be celebrating the 50th anniversary of her big 1955 show when nearly 14 inches of rain fell on an already water-logged town - a three-month supply in three days. The result was the worst flood our area experienced in the 20th Century.

The flood of ’55washed away roads and bridges, destroyed homes, damaged factories, and killed three people. It also opened eyes. A new kind of care was needed in dealing with the land.

In the past half-century, flood zones and regulations restricting development in them have been adopted. The state has purchased many hundreds of acres to preserve natural “sponges” like swamps and pond watersheds. The Army Corps of Engineers has built a flood dam in Ridgefield, and plans others.

Much has been done, and 14 inches of rain might not do the damage today it did in 1955. But we should never be complacent; continued care, control measures and even an early-warning system are necessary.

After all, New Orleans thought the dikes would hold.

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