The water was high on Walden Street August 8 after a heavy rainfall. Courtesy photo Sarah Lawrence.

August storms hit overflow on a long, wet summer

By Anne O’Connor
August 25, 2023

Day after day, the forecast promised rain, with the occasional sunny day thrown in. Sump pumps keep running, and water levels in rivers and ponds look high for late summer.

A deluge pummeled Concord on August 8. 

Retiring Concord Public Works operators cannot recall any similar rain events — ever — said CPW Director Alan Cathcart.

Sarah Lawrence, whose children were the seventh generation to live on the family’s Fox Meadow Farm on Monument Street, described the flooding.

“This storm was just a flash flood that covered the fields and ran down the brook, under the street and out through the horse paddock where I used to ice skate as a little kid,” she wrote in an email. 

In the 1800s, culverts were dug by hand across the fields, directing water away from the crops, she said. Those same channels are now maintained using a backhoe.

The brook has been swollen in past years, but Lawrence has never seen so much water. It was thigh-high where it was flooding, and disappeared in 90 minutes.

While she never recalls seeing such flooding, others in her family did.

Hurricane Edna September 11, 1954, brought Hurricane Edna and flooding to Concord. Courtesy photo from Sarah Lawrence, taken by her father.

On September 11, 1954, Hurricane Edna passed through Concord, hitting New England just 11 days after Hurricane Carol. 

The same spot on the family farm on Monument Street that flooded during Hurricane Edna was under water on August 8. Courtesy photo by Sarah Lawrence.

Broadcast legend Edward R. Murrow took part in a hurricane hunter’s flight, giving American television viewers a one-of-a-kind look at the storm, according to the Hurricane Research Division of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 

Lawrence’s dad, Raymond B. Lawrence, did his own reconnaissance that day, taking a photo of the flood at the bottom of the driveway, which looks to be about as deep as it was in this year’s storm.