Mill Brook Flood History

The history below is extracted from the "Mill Brook Hydrological Flood Plain Study" produced by CE Maguire, Inc. in 1974.  The list is not exhaustive and does not include storms since 1969. References to the Reservoir have been included wherever they were found.

Hurricane Edna - September 1954
Hurricane Edna dropped approximately six and one half inches of rain in five days.  It is quite evident that localized flooding occurred at many bridge restrictions along Mill Brook.


Hurricane Diane - August 1955
The flooding of Mill Brook is only documented in the local newspapers.  After Hurricane Connie had saturated the soil, Hurricane Diane brought a rainfall of 12.47 inches over three days.  The damage caused by Hurricane Diane probably exceed any other disaster the town had ever experienced.  Damages were estimated at $250,000 in 1955 dollars.

From the Arlington Advocate:  "For a time, a major break was feared at the Arlington Reservoir.  Sandbags by the thousands saved the day."

The CE Maguire report also claims:  "One fortunate point to note for this flood is that after Hurricane Edna occurred a year earlier, Arlington had the foresight to build up the crest of the spillway at Arlington reservoir.  Stoplog slots were added which provided means to add stoplogs to an additional 26 inches.  In addition, the Arlington reservoir had been at a low level previously, due to the drought which New England was experiencing.  These two facts helped Arlington Reservoir to store more water and protect the areas downstream."


Flood of March 1968
Over five inches of rain fell during a three day period.  The Advocate reported that "Mill Brook came to within inches of overflowing its banks."  Approximately 150 cellars had to be pumped by the Fire Department.  This flood was by no means serious, although great damage occurred on many surrounding watersheds.


Flood of December 1969
Up to ten inches of snow fell on Christmas night followed by heavy rain for two days, melting the snowfall.  The town quite effectively regulated the gate at Arlington Reservoir by holding all flow into Arlington reservoir until two days after the storm began.  At that time the gates were lowered since the flow in Mill Brook had subsided.  Mill Brook suffered little flooding but approximately 150 homes had to have their cellars pumped.


This material is extracted from section I. E. History of Floods from the CE Maguire Mill Brook Study of 1974.  Information about more recent storms could be found in newspaper archives.
For rough comparison purposes a 100-year flood is 6.7", a 500-year flood is 8.2" and a 1/2 PMF event is 18.06"


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