In the first weekend of June 1982 — during a full moon — up to 8 inches of rain pounded the area. Across the state, rivers and lakes flooded. Dams broke; 38,000 customers lost power. Seven people died. More than 1,300 others were evacuated from their homes.
It was the worst flooding here since 1955.
Downtown — where water runs underneath the Post Road, from Sconset Square to near Bay Street — a drama unfolded.
According to the New York Times:
Christa Lawrence, 13, of Westport, tried to cross a narrow, rushing stream called Dead Man’s Creek and was swept downstream and into a low, 150-foot-long underground tunnel.
”I thought I was going to die any second,” she said. ”The current was pulling me under, and I lost track of up or down. I couldn’t breathe. Every time I tried to go up for air, I hit my head on the top of the tunnel.”
One of her friends, Steve Treadway, 14, ran to the opposite end of the tunnel and, holding onto a tree with one hand, grabbed her as she swept out and pulled her to safety. Covered with sand and dirt, she was taken to Norwalk Hospital and treated for shock, cuts and bruises.
”Now I know why it’s called Dead Man’s Creek,” Miss Lawrence said.
I remember that well. It was a scary weekend, and Christa nearly did not make it.
But I have two questions: Isn’t it a brook — not a creek?
And isn’t it “Deadman” — named for the Deadman family — and not “Dead Man’s”?!
(Hat tip: Elaine Marino)