Tropical Storm Irene
Wed August 31, 2011
Saco, Pemi Flow Increased At Least 100 Times
Three rivers in the northern part of the state set new records thanks to Irene. On Sunday the water flow was more than 100 times normal for the Saco and more than that for the East Branch of the Pemigewasset and the Pemi.
During Irene’s visit anyone who looked at the torrents called the Saco, East Branch of the Pemigewasset and the Pemigewasset probably guessed that the horrifying amount of water tearing past was a record.
And that was the case, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
“The Saco River, over 89 years of data collection, we had the highest recorded flows in the Saco.”
That’s Keith Robinson. He is the director of the USGS water-science center covering New Hampshire.
Robinson says the Saco gauge in Conway measured 56,000 cubic feet of water per second.
That was 100 times the normal flow.
On average people use about 70 gallons of water per day in New Hampshire.
So how much water was the Saco moving in a minute?
“That’s enough water to supply over 350,000 people with 70 gallons for one day of water supply.”
The Pemi at Woodstock was flowing at about 48,200 cubic feet per second.
That was about 152 times the normal flow.
The east branch of the Pemi in Lincoln was flowing at 28,100 cubic feet per second.
That was about 145 times the normal flow.
Peter Joseph is the town manager in Lincoln. He saw and smelled the E. Branch of the Pemi on Sunday.
“It was just incredible the amount of whitewater and it wasn’t even white, it was brown water. All you could smell along the river was topsoil.”