Local Government and Politics, News

Cities and towns are scrambling to clear catch basins ahead of heavy rains

Lynn Water and Sewer Commission employee Justin Candilieri went around to storm drains on Washington Street in Lynn on Wednesday to clear them of snow and ice in preparation of the warm weather and heavy rain predicted for the weekend. (Spenser R. Hasak)

LYNN — On the heels of September’s flash flooding on the North Shore, officials are on alert about this weekend’s predicted rain.

But Daniel O’Neill, executive director of the Lynn Water and Sewer Commission, said he doubts Friday and Saturdays rain will wreak the same kind of havoc on city streets.

“We’ve had crews cleaning catch basins all week in the downtown and at many intersections,” he said. “The crews stayed out all Wednesday night and will do it again tonight.”

The September downpour came amid high tide and dumped four inches of rain over that weekend. At the height of the storm, there was 2.5 inches of rain in one hour.

The deluge stuck Munroe Street and pushed parked vehicles onto sidewalks. Water covered the Lynnway, Commercial, Boston, and Alley streets and brought traffic to a halt, and caused millions of dollars in damage.

This weekend, the tides will be low and the National Weather Service predicts rainfall amounts between a half and three quarters of an inch on Friday and the same on Saturday.

“We think the systems can handle that,” O’Neill said. “We are hoping for the best.”



In Lynnfield, residents are asked to clear snow or debris from storm drains and catch basins around their homes.

The email warned that flooding conditions could quickly arise due to the heavy rains and melting snow.

Crews will clear culverts and problem spots, but it will not be possible for them to clear every drain in town, Terenzoni said.



Malden’s Twitter account asked residents to clear out the nearest catch basins to help prevent flooding.



Brian Kerins, director of Medford’s Department of Public Works (DPW), warned about puddles in the streets, and said motorists should be careful and avoid driving fast through them.

“Take extra precaution, day and night, for commuting,” he said.

In addition, Kerins said the city’s Highway Division has been cleaning catch basins in preparation for flooding.

DPW has been working with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation & Recreation to make sure the Mystic River is capable of taking on storm water, as rivers and ponds in the area have been covered in ice and snow, he said.

Kerins recommended residents keep their gutters clean to help with the rain and snow melting. Residents should also clear out the area around downspouts, he said.

“We’ll work whatever hours to help the public out,” Kerins said.



Peabody’s Department of Public Services has been digging out catch basins in flood zones, according to David Terenzoni, director. Officials issued a robocall asking residents to please dig out catch basins in front of their homes.



In Saugus, Brendan O’Regan, director of the Saugus Department of Public Works, sent out a notice asking residents to assist in clearing snow from catch basins.

He said that this will help stormwater runoff flow and reduce the likelihood of flooding streets.


Thomas Grillo contributed to this report

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