Tiny little Alstead, NH (my town) with a population of less than 2,000 individuals has been a lead story in national and international news this month. Devastation is the byline and the term is apropos. It began to rain—very hard—late in the afternoon of October 8. As the droplets continued to fall (sometimes as hard as an inch an hour), the rivers and streams began to roar and the lakes behind the dams began to fill. Raining all night long, sheets of water started to pour over the pavement and roads began to wash away.
By morning Warren Dam (which sits several miles above Alstead Village) was full and water was pouring over the top. The deluge traveled down the ravine toward town but was stopped by a blocked culvert. A huge temporary lake began to form in a large field behind the culvert. This held until 7:18 am (October 9) when everything let go and a 10 foot wall of water barreled down the Cold River and into the village, taking with it the homes, businesses, roads, telephone poles and vehicles in its path. We are left with a 5 mile long ravine.
We actually received 10½ inches of rain—almost all of it falling in a ten-hour period. All over town roadside shoulders were replaced with 6-foot trenches many of which dug under the actual routes. Bridges either buckled or now stand several feet from the nearest road. Towns as close as two away remained unscathed.
Alstead, New Hampshire was born on Aug. 6, 1763. At that time, a new charter was granted by Benning Wentworth to Samuel Chase and 69 others and it became destined to produce a settlement. Having no actual time, I erected a noontime chart for the purposes of evaluation. And, yes, Alstead is definitely under siege!
Planet Neptune (water, water everywhere) at 14:54 Aquarius is within a degree of an exact opposition to Alstead’s Sun (identity) at 13:50 Leo. Just like beachfront property, our very infrastructure has been eroded away. Jupiter—planet of “large” happenings—at 26:23 Libra is squaring Alstead’s Mercury at 27:24 Cancer and Venus at 22:48 Cancer. This event certainly had a huge impact on our mobility (Mercury) and twelve homes and several businesses were washed away, not to mention many others being condemned. Mercury in the sky at 1:09 Scorpio was also squaring Alstead’s Mars at 00:15 Leo. The entire event was very swift and several people died.
Transiting Saturn at 9:35 Leo was also conjunct our Sun (13:50 Leo) and square our Saturn at 7:53 Taurus. People around here are truly being sorely tested. The schools are closed and many are still stranded and without electricity or phone. Planet Uranus (instigator of sudden, unexpected happenings) at 7:24 Pisces was in a wide square to Alstead’s Jupiter at 11:22 Gemini. Everybody that sees even the true pictures of what happened agrees that they’ve never seen anything like it—it’s that huge.
Mars in the sky at 22:57 Taurus is exactly conjunct Alstead’s progressed Venus, also at 22 degrees of Taurus. There is no doubt that this was a violent storm and it affected much of what was loved by those here. And, the Moon at 29:11 Sagittarius was very close to a conjunction with Alstead’s Pluto at 1:32 Capricorn (and possibly opposite our Moon). Death and rebirth? Truly, this town will never, ever be the same.
On the “up” side, our governor stepped in and began fixing roads immediately. Nearby towns are sending over their trucks to help (our own trucks were located on the section of Rt. 123 that got washed away). Local supermarkets put their “Katrina” cups away and substituted them with “Alstead.” Folks in East Alstead (on the other side of the five-mile ravine) got power and phone back on Wednesday (remarkable!) and everybody seems to want to help. Our own home is located near the top of the hill so we only had minor driveway damage, but we did spend a few days with only one damaged route to the outside world. This, too, has already changed although much dirt covers what was once pavement. Most people also seem to want to rebuild—if they have any land left. But, it could be a long winter in the hills of New Hampshire.