10-22-2005, 08:21 PM
We are also under a "dam" watch. This dam is downhill from me thankfully but many homes will be affected if this one goes. We may be a small state but the dams that we have are stressed right now and it is raining "cats and dogs" right now. We are holding our breaths.
Safety concerns spur tour of Lake Tiogue dam
11:53 AM EDT on Friday, October 21, 2005
By ZACHARY MIDER
Journal staff writer
COVENTRY -- A crowd of lawmakers inspected the aged gatehouse and spillway at the Tiogue Lake dam this morning, highlighting concerns about the safety of the dam after last week's downpours.
U.S. Sen. Lincoln D. Chafee, R-R.I., raised and lowered the century-old wooden gate that controls the level of the 219-acre lake, then pledged to press the Federal Emergency Management Agency for a $465,000 grant to improve the gatehouse and spillway.
The dam is one of six in Rhode Island identified by the state Department of Environmental Management as "high hazard" and in need of repair.
Town officials applied for the grant this spring, worried that a large amount of water could overwhelm the gatehouse and spillway and cause the lake to flow over the earthen dam. If the dam failed, a wall of water could rush down the Pawtuxet River, which flows through West Warwick, Warwick, and Cranston.
During last week's rains, water from the spillway backed up and flooded Tiogue Avenue.
More rain is on the way this weekend and possibly next week, raising concerns about more flooding.
The National Weather Service says "significant rainfall" will hit the region Saturday night into Sunday, with one to two inches expected in most areas.
Southern New England could get more rain by Tuesday or Wednesday from the remnants of Hurricane Wilma, now hitting Mexico with sustained winds of 145 mph, the weather service says.
Dams have been a concern for southern New Englanders this week after heavy rain pushed rivers over their banks last weekend, leading to flooding that damaged more than 800 homes in Rhode Island, according to Red Cross estimates.
In Taunton, Mass., officials evacuated part of the city earlier this week because of fears that a 173-year-old wooden dam could give away after being weakened by the storm. Officials allowed some residents to return home and businesses to re-open late yesterday after pumping water from the pond behind the dam to relieve pressure.
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