Update as of 11:21 a.m. on Sept., 9: The river had dropped to five feet above above flood level, to just over 16 feet, according to the National Weather Service.
The Housatonic River has hit a major flood stage as of Thursday afternoon at 20.04 feet as of 1 p.m., according to the National Weather Service. That is far above the river's 11-foot flood stage. By comparison, the Housatonic reached 23.4 feet on the Sunday of Hurricane Irene; that was the fourth-highest level ever and the highest since 1955.
Residents downstream in the Maples section of Shelton, who were hit extremely hard during Hurricane Irene less than two weeks ago, are already seeing some effects of the high water level caused by rain over the past three days, according to the Valley Independent Sentinel, which reported that the river is supposed to crest today at 20.8 feet. And residents in low-lying sections of Oxford, along the river near the Stevenson Dam, are already experiencing flooding in their homes, said Oxford Fire Chief Scott Pelletier, who is also the town's fire marshal and emergency management director.
"If the predictions are right, some of the people along Route 34 could get 2-to-3-feet of water in their basements by the time this is done," he said.
While the rain had stopped and the sun was pushing through clouds as of 10 a.m., Pelletier said Oxford is not out of the woods - or the water - just year: he said we should anticipate getting water from northern states.
Oxford fire officials have been out telling people along the river to be aware of the possibility of flooding and to take all proper precautions. Firefighters are telling residents to use the effects of Irene as a guage as of what to expect: If they got damage during that storm early on, when the flood levels were between 17 and 20 feet, they should start preparing for the probability of flooding.