The winter of 1853-1854 had been a particularly snowy one across the mountains of Vermont and New Hampshire. Not record breaking, but it was a cold winter and the snows that fell during the winter months didn’t melt much. The cold lingered into April and so did the snow on the ground. The weather pattern broke as the month ended, winds in the high atmosphere turned from the northwest to out of the south and ushered in warm air that had been building across the Gulf states in the early spring. At the same time copious volumes of moisture were carried along in the current of air from the Gulf of Mexico and the result was an unceasing rain that developed all across New England. Along with a soaking rain and soaring temperatures cloudbursts imbedded in thunderstorms brought hour after hour of rain. By the time the rain ended on May 1, 1854 it had been raining for 90 consecutive hours. Rainfall totaled more than 5” in Worchester, Mass and more than 7 ½ inches in Southwick, Mass, a general 3-5” rainfall fell from Philadelphia all the way to Maine. The rain coupled with the warm snow melting temperatures produced record flooding all across New England. The greatest crest on the Connecticut River was at Hartford where the river reached almost 29’ above flood stage.
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