News, Weather

Storm deals region a white, wet and wild blow

A plow drives through flood waters on Summer Street in Lynn on Thursday. (Spenser R. Hasak)

Winter made a fearsome debut on the North Shore and around the nation Thursday, triggering coastal flooding and clogging roads with snow.

With a deep freeze anticipated Friday through the weekend and street plowing efforts continuing through Friday night, city and town and state officials urged residents to check websites and electronic media for school and road closings and other storm related updates.

Here is how Lynn and surrounding communities fared during Thursday’s blizzard:



The coastal high tide at 12:30 p.m. and the storm’s Thursday afternoon intensity closed local streets and brought flood waters to Lynn Shore Drive and West Lynn streets off Summer Street.

Paul Ricchi, city emergency management director, said River Street, Washington Street in the area of North Shore Community College and in the area of Eastern and New Ocean Street and Bennett Street were closed due to flooding and freezing expected late Thursday into Friday morning.

The Department of Public Works launched an army of 50 city plows and trucks and 285 contractors to battle the storm and keep 163 miles of local roads clear. DPW Commissioner Andrew Hall urged residents to stay off roads as long as possible to give plows a maximum amount of time to clear them.

The city emergency parking ban was extended through Thursday night to Friday at 9 a.m. but Hall urged residents to check the city website for updated parking restrictions. City schools are closed Friday.

The storm handed Mayor Thomas M. McGee the first major challenge of his four-day-old administration.

“You’ve got everybody out working hard trying to deal with whatever the storm drops on us,” McGee said.

During an early Thursday visit to the Commercial Street public works yard, McGee said he was impressed with the work the crews were doing, getting the salt out early before the snow and being ready to go for the storm.

City trash collection, already delayed a day due to the New Year’s holiday, was delayed an additional day due to the storm.



Trash pickup is delayed until Friday.

“The roads are just what you would expect from anywhere else but I know the DPW is out there doing a good job,” Lynnfield police Sgt. Sean Donovan said.

A parking ban is still in effect until further notice.

Schools will be closed on Friday.



The city got an early start grappling with storm problems when a water pipe burst under the Salemwood School fieldhouse late Wednesday, pouring water over the roof of the 120-vehicle parking lot next to the school, and flooding the lot.

Classes in Malden were called off shortly after the incident for both Thursday and Friday due to the winter blizzard conditions and are not due to resume until Monday.

No streets were closed and the city’s DPW was hard at work clearing the streets of snow according to Director of Public Works Robert Knox.

“I’m predicting we will be working all night. It’s quite a process after a storm like this,” he said.



Roads were reopened in town after flooding caused several to be closed throughout Thursday.

As of 4:30 p.m., all road blocks were removed and there were no reports of trees down or power outages, Marblehead Police said in a Facebook post. They encouraged residents to shovel out any fire hydrants near their home or business if their “arms and backs can stand it.”

“The Fire Department and DPW crews do work on them, but not until things settle down,” police said on Facebook. “Forecasters are talking about a flash freeze tonight so it might not be movable in the morning.”

Police are reminding residents that vehicles parked on the street for more than an hour between midnight and 7 a.m. are subject to a $25 parking ticket and during snowstorms, they will also be towed if the DPW feels they are hindering snow plowing and removal efforts.

Marblehead Schools are closed on Friday.



Schools will be closed on Friday.



Town officials declared a state of emergency before 3 p.m. Thursday.

Dennis Ball, the director of the Department of Public Works and Nahant Emergency Management, asked all residents to shelter in place. The department faced challenges pumping water out of several flooded roads because of the tide, and many streets were impassable, including the Causeway link to the mainland.

Ocean flooding caused State Police and Lynn police to shut down Route 1A, the Nahant Rotary, and Lynn Shore Drive subject to updates on reopening. The flooding stranded the town ambulance on the Causeway’s Lynn side, prompting Ball to scramble for additional pumps to clear away water on the roadways.

The Johnson School will be closed on Friday.



The city experienced white-out conditions on Thursday as the storm quickly intensified, according to the Peabody Fire Department.

Peabody officials reported a water main break on Walnut Street near New England Meat where crews repaired a 6-inch vertical water main break on Wednesday.

No roads were closed on Thursday other than Walnut Street for the break, but the road was later reopened and work will be completed on Friday.

Schools will be closed on Friday.



A violent storm surge hit low-lying neighborhoods at Point of Pines and bordering North Shore Road with flood water surging into streets and rapidly encasing parked cars in ice.

Cottage Street, 1A North and South, as well as Mills Ave and its surrounding side streets were among those forced to close.

“A lot of people didn’t heed the advice and stay inside and now they are stuck all over the place while the roads are inundated with water, causing everyone to get stuck in it,” Fire Chief Christopher Bright said during the storm’s height. “It was a real mess, but things are starting to subside with the tide receding, so little by little police will open those closed roads which will hopefully quiet things down.”

With many cars trapped in the treacherous slush, Revere police officers and firefighters had to go out and ensure people were getting out of their cars safely. Calls flooded in seeking help, regarding medical concerns, flooded basements, as well as gas and burning odors.

“I’ve seen a lot in my years here but I’ve never seen North Shore Road buried like that,” said Bright.

Revere Schools are closed Friday.



The Fire Department had to rescue a woman stuck in her Milton Street home by boat on Thursday afternoon.

Saugus Police and Fire responded to 12 Milton St. around 1 p.m. to assist an elderly woman in her home. Engine 1 and Ladder 1 brought the woman over the water on the street via the fire department’s rescue boat after she wanted to evacuate, Fire Chief Michael Newbury said.

“She was agitated and concerned about her safety due to the flooding,” Newbury said. “Our people took her out on the boat to her family and her family took her from there.”

Milton Street was one of several streets that were flooded in town during the storm — Houston, Spencer and Harvard avenues, and Milton Street are all off of Ballard Street at the Saugus River. There was also flooding on Bristow and Harlow streets, along with Seagirt and Venice avenues, Newbury said.

Newbury said National Grid was down pulling electrical meters and shutting off gas to homes. He said a few dozen home had their basements flooded on Houston Avenue — Rescue One, the department’s emergency management truck was on scene early Thursday evening. Two people were there pumping homes from Houston, Spencer and Harvard, he said.

Newbury said water was about chest high, but the woman on Milton Street was the only person who chose to evacuate. He said everyone else trapped in their homes due to flooding off of Ballard and Bristow chose to shelter in place.

“DPW is doing a good job of clearing the roads,” Newbury said early Thursday evening. “I would advise people to stay off the roads right now and would advise people to adhere to the parking ban … I’m proud of all of the firefighters here. They’re definitely earning their pay today and they’re out there responding to all these emergencies in difficult conditions.

Saugus schools are closed on Friday.



Several roads were shut down and there were multiple cars stuck after coastal flooding.

Humphrey Street from the Lynn line down to Monument Avenue was shut down, along with Puritan Road at Eisman’s Beach. Atlantic Road from the Marblehead line down to Beach Bluff Avenue was shut down, but the town later since reopened Atlantic and blocked off Beach Bluff from Atlantic up to Mostyn Street, according to Gino Cresta, department of public works director and assistant town administrator.

Cresta said Atlantic was worst at the Marblehead line where sand and stone had been pushed onto the roadway.

He said the seawall was intact on Humphrey Street but the water was not receding, or draining, as the tide was still above the outfall pipe mid-afternoon (high tide was at 12:40 p.m.) so water is not going into the storm drains.

Fire Chief Kevin Breen said multiple cars got stuck as a result of the flooding, including one on Humphrey Street by Kings Beach Terrace and another on Puritan Road by Eisman’s Beach.

To tackle the storm, Cresta said he had 15 DPW trucks out, along with 20 contractors. The town is responsible for plowing 50 miles of roadway. He said clean-up will also involve removing all the snow from gutters and storm drains.

“If we don’t remove all the snow from the roadway by midday (Friday), everything is going to freeze up,” Cresta said on Thursday. “We’re going to work right through the night to remove the snow. My goal is to hopefully have this all cleaned up by midnight tonight and have this all salted up.”

Swampscott Schools are closed on Friday.

More Stories From Lynn