Watching the flood - 7 pm - 18 feet

Frenchtown Flood

of September 8-9, 2011


The River crested at 19.3 19.02 feet around 2 10 5:45 7:15 am Friday

- and is receding.
->>> more from USGS.



11:00 am Saturday: - The water level has dropped to 14.43 feet - BELOW FLOOD LEVELS. Time to begin the cleanup of the lower homes along River Road and the south end of town.

11:00 pm Friday:
- The water level has dropped to 16.78 feet - 16 is base "flood stage". The river is projected to be down to 14 feet - "action stage" - by morning. Lookin' good. Looks like cleanup may well begin tomorrow... This could mean some fun cleanup parties in Frenchtown... Go help your neighbors and celebrate life on the river...

After one flood, a resident whose home was totally flooded out faced it with courage - and plans. "Come on over to the cleanup party. I think we'll get a band!".... ;)

12:00 noon Friday:
- Things are looking pretty good for most parts of town. Those along the river or in low-lying areas (Trenton Ave and below) will have some serious cleaning to do once the water recedes. Sunday seems to be the planned "cleanup day" for affected residents. photos

10:00 AM Friday: - The river crested at 19.02 feet at 7:15 am and the water is receding. The bridge remains closed and will likely stay closed until the roads open on the PA side - which could mean today or tomorrow. Bridges at Stockton and Lambertville have re-opened. Roads south of town are closed, no serious local damage reported.

12:00 midnight Thursday: The river is only up to 18.7 feet and, according to NOAH, who monitors the bridge, may crest around 19 feet around 10:00 am Friday. >... more on river levels

7:00 pm Thursday: The bridge was closed at 6:50 pm - and, according to Mayor Ron Sworen, may remain closed until roads open up on the Pennsy side, which could be as long as til Saturday.
>...more on bridge closings from

5:00 pm Thursday:
The river is up - to 18.15 feet; it is flooding. The parking area near the river is already flooding and USGS reports that the river is expected to crest at 19.3 feet by 2 am Friday. photos

Report at 3 pm, Thursday, September 8, 2011: No damage reported so far, but the water is rising... and residents of the River Road are moving to higher ground.

And, some good news - the water is rising slowly right now - after rising 18" between 1 and 5 am (4 hours), it's risen less than a foot since 5 am - (12 hours)

At 18 feet, this is what we see:

Delaware River at Frenchtown
                              Bridge 2pm 9/8/11
The River is BACK - with a vengance!

(After a close call last week, it looks pretty serious this time!)

National Weather Service Graph of river level at Frenchtown Bridge

USGS Current Conditions at Frenchtown Bridge:
16 FEET = Flood Stage / 20 feet = Major Flood

River water is already flooding the parking area Thursday morning - and more water is coming!
Prepare for a real flood this time.

Updates on The Milford Bridge from Bucks County Emergency Management
for more Bridge Closing Information -
Help from Our Congressman - Rush Holt on Hurricane & Flood Relief

Thursday afternoon - 18 feet and rising:

Zoe McDonald "in the river" - while
              standing in the parking lot...
Water covers the NishIsackawick Bridge and the south end of the parking lot next to the river.
Zoe McDonald asks her mother: "Am I in the river now?" Yes, Zoe, the river came to you...

Magic, the Black Lab begins cleanup
The Cleanup Begins... Magic, the Black Lab begins removing debris from the river's edge...
note the "covered bridge" in the background - covered with water, that is...

Waves in the Parking Lot at Frenchtown, NJ
Picnic Tables covered; waves in the parking lot - 2 pm....

Friday Morning:
The river has crested and is receding, most home in town were spared - but not all...

                Avenue Detour
Trenton Avenue Detour remains in effect until water recedes
(probably below 18 feet or so... - maybe this afternoon, almost certainly before this evening...)

Water level on Trenton Ave - noon Friday -
                18.6 feet
Water level on Trenton Ave - noon Friday - the river is at 18.6 feet, Trenton Ave remains closed.

The River Road
                Bridge at the end of the parking lot...
The River Road Bridge over the NishIsackawick Creek at the south end of the parking lot...

Paul's Saab did
                not float away, but....
Paul's Saab did not float away, but....

Frenchtown Flood - Pauls House and mailbox
Pauls House and mailbox... Note the mailbox is still in the ground. A good sign.

Frenchtown Flood
                - Kayakers in the parking lot
Kayakers IN the parking lot - They wisely did NOT enter the river, but stayed on (floated above) River Road.
Note: Kayaking or canoeing in a fast moving, flood-swollen river - or, as one foolish father did during one recent flood - taking his son out in a rubber boat - into the flooded Delaware - is foolish and dangerous and is NOT recommended. The flooded river moves quickly and has taken lives in the past. Do NOT go in the water... Besides, all sorts of things are floating down the river - many of which you would probably not want to meet in a small boat. One year, we watched a shed roof float by. We always see lots of logs and branches... Once there was a bear - but his lifeless carcass wasn't found until a few weeks later - among a 20-30 foot high log jam... Stay out of the water!

Frenchtown Flood
                - photo of the Bridge and parking lot - from higher
A shot of the Bridge and the flooded parking lot - from higher ground - the railroad embankment.

Frenchtown Flood
                - A shot of the Bridge from the flooded parking lot
A shot of the Bridge from the flooded parking lot

Frenchtown Flood
                - A shot of the flooded parking lot
The parking lot around noon on Friday... waves continue to lap in as the water slowly begins to recede.

Frenchtown Flood
                debris in the creek
A lot of debris came down the Nishsackawick and Little Nishisackawick Creeks. (We even saw an old refrigerator floating in the creek.) This will be a mess to clean up as the water level drops.

The Flood event isn't really over until everyone's back in their homes and life returns to normal...

Frenchtown Officer Paul Murphy at the

Frenchtown Borough CERT and Police manned a post at the bridge throughout this event...

Officer Paul Murphy

>> official bridge closing information

Something interesting that we learned about the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission - which paid for our new parking lot and lighting on the bridge - using no tax dollars:

In December of 2005, The Borough of Frenchtown, NJ received a grant from the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commision - which was founded in 1934, takes no state or federal dollars and is totally funded by tolls collected on their toll bridges.

text of their press release:

"The $795,000 grant will assist the Borough in the implementation of two major transportation improvement projects. $485,000 in funds will be used toward the construction of a paved, landscaped park-and-ride that will create space for 70 vehicles, 30 bicycles, and 15 motorcycles, as well as provide parking for commuters and carpooling. $310,000 in funds from the grant will be used to enhance pedestrian safety by creating access to the bridge and install new lighting near the bridge. Both projects will be completed by 2006.

No tax dollars; the DRJTBC is self-supporting through the tolls we pay on 7 of the 20 bridges the DRJTBC maintains as a self-supporting service to the public.


All photos c 2011 Alan Runfeldt/ may be used with permission only.
For comparison, here are the levels from past floods:
(organized by river level)

(1) 27.79 ft on 08/20/1955
(2) 24.40 ft on 10/10/1903
(3) 23.60 ft on 04/04/2005
(4) 23.40 ft on 06/29/2006
(5) 21.93 ft on 03/19/1936
(6) 21.70 ft on 03/13/1936
(7) 20.70 ft on 09/19/2004
(8) 19.30 ft on 9/9/2011
(9) 18.60 ft on 05/24/1942
(10) 17.30 ft on 12/12/1952
17.00 ft. on 3/12/2011
16.69 ft on
(13) 15.75 ft on 06/30/1973