Revere basements were soaked by Thursday’s storm

William Woodman of Revere patrols his street, Pearl Avenue, showing a DPW worker where cars need to be dug out of. (Spenser R. Hasak)

REVERE — Pearl Avenue offers some of the most breathtaking ocean and marsh views in the city.

But Thursday’s powerful nor’easter coupled with a merciless high tide pounded the Beachmont neighborhood, flooding basements and cutting power.

“This is worse than the Blizzard of 1978 because that storm was just snow,” said William Woodman, who has lived on the street since 1947. “This storm came at high tide and the ocean came right up the street and flooded many basements.”

While his 8-room Colonial was spared, his daughter Sandra Castellarin’s new house down the street wasn’t so lucky.

“She had three feet of water in what was supposed to be waterproof cellar,” he said.

And she was not alone.

It took Michael and Michelle Chaplin more than nine hours to remove nearly five feet of water from their basement.

“Years ago we bought a heating unit that could be hung on the wall for such an occurrence, but this was a close call,” said Michael Chaplin.

Luckily, the water barely touched the heating system and it did not shut down.

“If water covered the system, we would have to evacuate because it’s a gas fired system,” he said.

While the high tide wasn’t expected until 12:36 p.m. Thursday, Michelle Chaplin saw the marsh outside a rear window was already flooded by 11:15 a.m.

“That’s when the panic set in and why this was so terrifying,” she said.

Still, the couple was prepared. They parked their cars in the Wonderland Garage, took a taxi home and monitored the flooding. By Friday morning, with the sump pump working overtime, the basement was dry.

“We’ve been here 21 years and it’s never happened like this,” Michelle Chaplin said. “I’m done. I’d love to sell, but who would buy knowing about the potential for flooding.”

Mayor Brian Arrigo said a handful of streets were closed during the storm, including Pearl, during the high tide.

“Now, we’re doing the cleanup of those difficult, icy spots,” he said. “I am hopeful that some relatively mild temperatures are headed this way next week, and we are not expecting another storm.”

Still, he said, the region needs to take steps to combat the rising coast line.

“We have to start thinking about it now,” he said.

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