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Sinkholes, flooded basements, road closures: More rain brings more damage across NH

Torrential rain brought wet, swampy conditions to many parts of New Hampshire Sunday: washing out roads, flooding basements, and swelling rivers and streams.

The daylong downpour, which dropped several inches of rain across parts of central and southern New Hampshire, came just a week after another round of heavy precipitation. While New Hampshire largely avoided the kind of widespread flooding and infrastructure damage seen in Vermont last week, the steady rain stopped traffic and disrupted routines in several communities.

“Everyone is working around the clock to try and fix all these concerns, but with the continued rainfall, it's an uphill battle at this moment,” said Antrim Police Sergeant John Blake, who was dealing with several washed out culverts and damaged roadways Sunday.

Related: NH's infrastructure is aging. How will it hold up with predictions of more flooding and extreme weather?

Some roads also flooded in the Monadnock region. In the town of Dublin, flooding briefly shut down part of Route 101 and made some smaller roads impassable through the day Sunday, according to the town’s fire chief.

Much of the worst flooding Sunday was seen in central New Hampshire. In Alton, many roads were closed due to flooding, washouts and mudslides. Part of Route 11, or Mount Major Highway, usually a busy thoroughfare on a July weekend, was shut down due to a large sinkhole. One safety official told WMUR the town was “essentially an island” on Sunday due to road closures.

Related: NH climate assessment says state is getting warmer and wetter

Route 11 in Alton also sustained damage on Sunday.
John Gisis
Route 11 in Alton also sustained damage on Sunday.

The rain disrupted businesses as well. The Mall of New Hampshire had a delayed opening Sunday due to weather. And the NASCAR race at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, originally scheduled for Sunday, was pushed back to Monday.

State emergency officials said they activated their support teams Sunday to help communities with flooded and damaged roadways, including requests for sandbags, traffic cones and bottled water for a shelter. As of 7:30 p.m. Sunday, state officials estimated about 100 state and local roads were closed, across New Hampshire.

They urged drivers to turn around and seek an alternate route if they come across a closed or flooded roadway.

The National Weather Service says things should clear up for Monday, though continued rain runoff still poses the possibility of flooding through the day. Unsettled weather is likely to return on Tuesday, with showers and thunderstorms gathering force through the day.

Be prepared:

Paul Cuno-Booth covers health and equity for NHPR. He previously worked as a reporter and editor for The Keene Sentinel, where he wrote about police accountability, local government and a range of other topics. He can be reached at pcuno-booth@nhpr.org.

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