Flood Retrospective Part Three: The Impact of The Dike To Keep 1994 Disaster From Repeating Itself Ever Again
Some residents in Fort Fairfield are breathing a sigh of relief the water is starting to recede. But the thread of flood potential still exists say municipal officials. One saving grace to keep the flood disaster of 1994 from happening again is the DIKE that’s been put in place since then. Concluding her look back at that flood disaster, tonight Shawn Cunningham examines the importance of the dike and other practices to keep the threat of floods LOW, even when the water’s HIGH.
00:00 Open SOT: Tony Levesque Voiceover Archived Footage
“we had to visit homes that lost everything…”
Tony Levesque says the days following the flood disaster were emotionally hard. But the community had a resolve to come together, rebuild and move forward.
(TAKE FORT FAIRFIELD LOCATOR HERE)
Part of the REBUILDING included putting in this massive 2200 linear feet DYKE. Levesque says its made a BIG difference in the past 20 years in keeping the ’94 flood from happening again….including THIS YEAR.
Tony Levesque says “if the dike wasn’t there we would have had water on Main Street for at least twelve hours.”
Levesque says the dike included a concrete wall. Although made of concrete, is the dike or anything for that matter completely impenetrable to Mother Nature.
Levesque adds “could it be breached, I hope not, is Mother Nature gonna throw us something that we can’t handle I hope not.”
(archived Footage show parts of newscast)
(OPENING OF NEWSSOURCE MUSIC AND GUYS AT ANCHOR DESK)
“Topping your newssource tonight a weekend of flooding has left one Aroostook community devastated a state of emergency has been declared in Fort Fairfield where millions of dollars in damage occurred.”
Residents never expected the kind of chaos and damage that ensued days after the flood. But the flood of ’94 changed all that. Years later the dyke went up and so did people’s GUARD. Levesque says along with the dike, better flood preparedness plans and communication was created among emergency responders like police, fire and public works on both sides of the border.
Levesque adds “we’ve created some partnerships with all the other agencies the National Weather Service for forecasting with New Brunswick governments they’re very helpful and I try to replicate their efforts in flood watch and preflood events.
Overall, people say they’re hope is high when it comes to the dyke keeping high flood waters IN…and keeping folks OUT of harm’s way. Mary Schneider is a Fort Fairfield Resident who was emergency evacuated from her home when the 1994 disaster occurred and says “Across on the other side of the bridge there are quite a few people living over there and they’re pretty close to the river too, but now they put the dyke up so I guess we’ll be ok.” “Its a scary time there’s a lot of water in basements…we’re just hoping the dike’s gonna work for us and have everything dry and move on for the summer,” adds Marilyn Gardner another Fort Fairfield Resident impacted by the flood.