High Water at Antietam

High water at Antietam Aqueduct

High water at Antietam Aqueduct

To say that I sleep well is an understatement.  Thursday night, the area received a heavy rain, and I didn’t hear a thing.  As a result, I headed to the canal today for a hike, expecting to see the Potomac up a little bit, but I was stunned to see a small-scale mess.  The empty space in the arches of the Antietam Aqueduct stood at about 2′, which would put the river at perhaps 8′-10′ above its normal level.  When I returned home, I did a little bit of web surfing and found out that White’s Ferry is closed and the lower end of Harpers Ferry is (or at least was) under water.

The new river bank is temporarily located in the woods.

The new river bank is temporarily located in the woods.

Nevertheless, hikers and bikers are a hearty breed, and the swollen river and muddy towpath didn’t stop numerous canal enthusiasts from seeking a bit of Sunday recreation.  Campers were out on the other side of the berm and Canal Road, even though the road was under water in a few spots.  One in particular was 2-3′ deep as the rainwater rolled down the hill and flooded the low-lying areas.  Fortunately, the extended forecast seems to be conducive to the river returning to a normal level over the next several days.  Hopefully, the flood prone areas downstream and near Big Slackwater fared well.

Canal Road above Antietam Aqueduct--looking like the canal of old!

Canal Road above Antietam Aqueduct–looking like the canal of old!

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3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by LevelWalker on May 19, 2014 at 9:55 pm

    I received a Canal Association email a while ago, and the flood waters did reach the arches at some of the aqueducts. Also, other access roads were under water, and some large fish were stranded in the canal prism.


  2. Posted by Jamie on May 20, 2014 at 9:52 am

    I wondered about the damage. From the looks of the river crests, it appeared as if the towpath would have been topped at Point of Rocks, if not also at other places. Even if the water didn’t come up that much, some of the banks may have been washed. If large fish were in the canal prism, the water was at least high enough to enter through a weir.

    I had considered driving to the canal Saturday to take a first hand look, but I was forced to admit the time would be better used on jobs around the house. Thus I am glad you posted these photos to give us all a glance at the high water.


  3. Posted by LevelWalker on May 20, 2014 at 10:50 am

    Jamie, with all of the cutbacks, etc in recent years, I get a sick feeling every time we get a hard rain. This one happened overnight. I was shocked at what I saw–and the reports.


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