Emergency slow no wake declared in New London
By John Faucher
The Wolf River rose to its highest level of the year on Sunday, Dec. 20, reaching 9.17 feet before cresting early Monday morning.
A week earlier, the river was at 4 feet, according to the USGS gauging station located near the Pearl Street Bridge in New London.
The river rose five feet in less than seven days, prompting the city of New London to place an emergency slow no wake in effect on Tuesday, Dec. 15.
New London’s emergency slow no wake goes into effect when the river reaches a level of 7 feet.
Chad Hoerth, New London Parks and Recreation director said signs were posted at the boat launch on Tuesday.
“This is the first time we’ve enacted a slow no wake in December, which is new for me,” Hoerth said.
The river level and rain were the ‘talk of the town’ for most of the past week.
The National Weather Service issued a flood warning for New London on Friday, Dec. 18 as the river approached 9 feet. The National Weather Service action stage is 7 feet, and flood stage is 9 feet at New London.
At 9 feet, there is minor urban flooding in the New London area including Pfiefer Park.
Portions of the Bernegger River Walk are also submerged at 9 feet.
Major flooding occurs when the river is at 10 feet or higher. At 12 feet, the river reaches the top of the retaining wall in downtown New London. Flood waters also begin spreading into portions of North Water Street and West Wolf River Avenue.
High water conditions are something most New Londoner’s are accustomed to in the springtime.
“I’ve never ever, seen the water this high in December,” said Mike Collar a New London resident for 61 years.
“This is something we usually see in April or May,” Collar said.
As of late Monday morning, the river was at 9.13 feet and falling slowly, but more rain is predicted throughout the week.
Current volume, or discharge which is river flow measured by cubic feet per second was at 7,440 cubic feet per second on Monday morning. That is six times higher than the 100-year average for the month of December.
Hoerth said the rainy weather has made a “muddy mess” for the work being done on the new Hatten Stadium field lights. “The remaining work (removing the old poles and installing new ones) will continue once the ground freezes so the bigger equipment won’t create more damage,” Hoerth said.
He said the abundance of moisture has not caused too many issues in the parks since usage is typically light this time of year.
“If this was the middle of July, we’d be having major issues in the parks,” Hoerth said.