Residents Keeping Eyes On Swelling Rivers
BOSTON — Rising flood waters are threatening many Bay State neighborhoods Wednesday as flood-weary residents are watching and waiting for the rain to come to an end.
The rising Sudbury River was causing problems in Framingham, where many homes and businesses were dealing with the flood.
“It’s the highest we’ve ever seen it in the five years the town has owned the building,” said Dave Demeo, of Framingham Building Services.
A couple hundred seniors were forced from the Callahan Center because of flooding. The Main Street Bridge was closed as the river continues to rise. It’s about 14 feet above flood stage, and many houses along the river are flooded.
Twelve people, including a pregnant woman, were hospitalized with carbon monoxide poisoning after a gasoline-powered water pump was left on overnight in Peabody Square.
“They had readings of anywhere from 150 parts per million down to as low as 35. So, right now, from what we’ve been able to ascertain, this has been running since 11 p.m.,” said Peabody Fire Department Chief Steven Pasdon. “They simply had a carbon monoxide detector that went off — hence that new carbon monoxide detector law paid off.”
At this point, it’s not clear who activated the pump, but officials said the attempt to minimize flood damage may have inadvertently caused bodily harm.
Flood-related problems bubbled up all over Peabody. Some roads are under several feet of water. A few drivers fought the flood — and the flood won.
“People go down the street. You can see them. They’ll pull up to the water. They think, ‘I can make it’,’” said Perry Baw, of Peabody.
Scores of businesses are closed, and others are nearly inaccessible.
Flooding in Freetown trapped a neighborhood of about 1,000 residents when the Narrows Bridge washed out.
Highway crews brought in tons of stone to try to shore up the bridge to fill in sinkholes, but state police said they weren’t taking any chances and officials said the bridge will stay closed at least for another day.
The National Guard brought in 13 truckloads of sandbags, and only emergency vehicles and transportation vehicles will be allowed in the water.
Travelers were urged to avoid using Route 140 between the Route 24 interchange in Taunton and the Route 6 interchange in New Bedford. The roadway is heavily flooded and is shutdown in both directions between exits 7 and 9 in Freetown.
On the south shore, waters rushing underneath Mount Hope Street in Fall River caused it to buckle, sending more water into the street and nearby basements.
Homes are totally submerged in waves on Greenleaf Street. Residents who have lived in the neighborhood for 50 years said they have never seen anything like it before.
The National Guard brought in sandbags to help in an effort to keep homeowners in their homes.
State officials are keeping their eyes on 39 dams, including the Upper Mystic Lake Dam in Arlington. It felt the strain during the last storm earlier this month.
Once conservation officials saw the forecasts for more rain this week, they took steps to protect the dams in Arlington and elsewhere.
Officials are also monitoring the Forge Pond Dam in Freetown, where crews plan a controlled breach next week to ease pressure on the 300-year-old structure.
“It’s kind of a hassle. You can’t go right, can’t go straight so you’re kind of doing a roundabout with everybody else,” one commuter said.
In Natick, waterways are spilling over, bathing sidewalks and pooling onto one of the town’s busiest intersections — Route 135 and Speen Street.
The public works director said the culvert is compromised, so the water isn’t moving. The Natick Dam is also overflowing, flooding homes and a school.
“It’s a headache from a financial stand point because this kind of stuff you can not plan for financially. We do have some built in overtime, but between the last storm and this one our crews are working numerous hours,” Natick Public Works Director Bill Lacouture said.
Besides securing the road, crews are cleaning out debris swept away by the water.
Amtrak suspended Acela Express service Wednesday between New Haven, Conn., and Boston because of high water conditions along the tracks in Rhode Island. The company said regional service will continue to operate, but passengers should expect delays.
The storm not only brought down rain, but decades-old weather records. Blue Hill Observatory recorded the wettest month ever, with rainfall totals of 18.81 inches.