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Scituate storm closes streets, damages property

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  January 3, 2014 10:45 AM

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Several streets were closed and residents saw moderate property damage after a 12.2-foot-high tide crested over Scituate seawalls and into streets and backyards Friday afternoon.

The noon high tide was the worst of all three tide cycles during the New Year's blizzard, residents said.

“[It was] worse than we thought it would be,” said Liesel Pollvogt, a First Cliff resident. “It’s hitting the seawall pretty hard, both right here across from the boatyard and across the harbor on the First Cliff side. You can barely see the seawall there. We’re definitely not going anywhere for a while.”

Pollvogt said the storm wasn’t as bad as Nemo, but the tide pushed rocks and other debris into the road. Edward Foster Road was flooded and the tide was the highest she had ever seen.

“The beach was almost entirely under water,“ she said.

The tide even carried someone’s porch stairs away from the house. Pollvogt said the stairs were floating in the harbor.

Lighthouse Road resident Melissa Marram said the noon high tide broke her yard fence. Overwash from Rebecca Road was significantly flooding houses on the inland side of Lighthouse Road as well.

“It seems to be receding now. But it came up as high as Nemo,” she said. “Right around 12 p.m., it got fast and furious.”

Marram anticipated the tide to be high. Prior to noon, she said the tide was already significant due to the wind pushing the water to the shore. Waves were cresting the seawall at 9:30 a.m.

Though Marram said she wasn’t concerned about water coming into the house, she was worried about what the waves, 15 feet high just outside the harbor at times, might do to the outside of the house.

Yet by 1 p.m., the storm was dying down. Debris from the storm was floating in the marsh, Marram said.

“I don’t see any home damage; I see yard debris,” she said.

Power loss had been minimal during the storm, officials said. Cable wires were low in some areas, however, and town officials warned that high winds and low temperatures could cause power loss later on.

Several streets were closed due to flooding.

Scituate police Lieutenant Ted Coyle said Edward Foster Road, Lighthouse Road, Glades Road, and Central Avenue were all closed due to flooding.

“Many of the roads right along the coast have been closed due to flooding," Coyle said in a phone interview.

In an alert on the town website, officials said Cole Parkway, Edward Foster Road, Allen Place, Bailey’s Causeway, Glades Road, and all of Cedar Point to Lighthouse was flooded and not passable in addition to regular flooding areas along Rebecca Road, Turner Road, Oceanside Drive, and Surfside Road.

Central Avenue in Humarock was open for limited emergency access but the noon tide has had an impact, officials said.

"There is considerable debris overwash in coastal areas," officials said.

Though police had Humvees on standby to access flooded streets, no one needed evacuation and the cars were minimally used, Coyle said.

The Scituate shelter was open despite not having evacuations.

In a website posting, officials said debris removal would take time as roads were icy.

"The cold weather is impacting road clearing as trucks are icing up as well as police vehicles. Please be patient with snow removal activities. The wind and cold must subside a good deal before DPW crews can get in and start debris removal," officials said in the website posting.

Officials said main arteries for emergency access will continue to be the priority.

Despite the work to be done, officials remained optimistic.

"Overall, we are holding our own and managing so far: Our public safety and DPW personnel as well as volunteers in the shelter doing “herculean” job! Thank you for your continued cooperation," officials said.

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