Flooding takes many by surprise
BRfSTOL BOROUGH - Any Bristol resident who even half entertained the idea that Dec. 21 would be the Last Day - the end of the world - might have experienced an adrenaline jolt upon awakening and seeing the Delaware River way, way over its banks.
The ancient Mayans believed that Dec. 21, 2012 would mark the end of a 5,000-year life cycle whose demise would be marked by catastrophic events. Scholars generally dismiss such a prediction, although some wags prepare for the so-called Apocalypse with end-of-the-world parties, cruises, or restaurant festivities.
The flooding in the borough was unexpected, for sure. With no warning, the river propelled itself further than it has been in a long time, said John D’Angelo, owner of a Mill Street building. While the town slept, torrential rain and high winds rode in on high tide, swamping stores in the business district and back yards along Radcliffe Street.
The Mill Street Parking Lot was underwater, along with a dozenplus cars, several of them visible only from steering wheel to roof.
“Oh man,” said one disgusted resident, as he snapped pictures of the flooded lot. “f can’t even see my cars from here. That’s not good.”
D’Angelo, who owns the building he lives in at Mill and Cedar streets, pointed the three concrete steps that led to his back door. Water lapped at the bottom step but D’Angelo considered himself lucky because, just a few more steps and the structure would have taken on water. Bristol Mirror and Glass and several other businesses that backed up to the parking lot were not lucky as water seeped in through doorways and up from basements.
The landmark wharf at the foot of Mill Street was flooded as the river crept up toward the King George fnn. The bases of the Ethnic monuments beyond the wharf were also submerged.
Some apartments at Harbor Lights on the 1000 block of Radcliffe Street were swamped either by the river or by the creek that runs behind the complex. St. Mark School had a close call, with water creeping up over the seawall to swallow half of the playground area but not the school building.
Along Mill Street, customers at various businesses, with no place to park, took their chances parking on yellow lines and in front of buildings that would otherwise attract the eagle eye of parking enforcement. But officials seemed to turn a blind eye to desperate motorists and employees, issuing no tickets, at least early on.
“When the river goes down, they’ll be out,” said one woman headed to a dentist appointment. “This is terrible, and f’ve seen this river rise many times.”
The river began to recede after 9 a.m. but the yellow wooden blockades would remain in place because the tide was expected to rush in again Friday night, police said.