Quoted from investingdad:
Three feet of standing water in the basement when it rains? Is this house surrounded by a moat? On a lake?
My last house was in a historic district in a Boston suburb, and was over 100 years old with one of those old fieldstone foundations which are notorious for not being watertight. Though we were still halfway up a giant hill from a nearby pond, there was still enough hill behind us that when it spring came or when it rained for days, the hydrostatic pressure of the ground water would cause the water to shoot in from the walls. One spot on my basement wall was like a small garden hose in flow and it shot at least 1-2' horizontally off the wall to the basement floor.
Everyone on the street had sump pumps, but if you didn't have a battery backup during an outage, or if your float got caught on the inner sidewall of the small sump hole, you could have 3' of standing water within a day. Happened a few times when our float got stuck. Not fun at all, yet still not uncommon on my old street in MA.