MASSACHUSETTS – New England bore the brunt of a stronger-than-expected winter storm on Friday, which brought a damaging storm surge to coastal Massachusetts and dropped more than a foot of snow on Boston and its surroundings.
The greatest damage came to Plum Island, a coastal community about 40 miles north of Boston, where a high tide and heavy storm surge pushed the sea about 10 feet higher than normal, causing one two-story beach front home to collapse on its side.
“This was a home that, coming into this morning, had its foundation compromised, there was a crack in it. It was not a surprise at this point,” said Peter Judge, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, adding that the state was “watching a number of other houses” along the same coastal road, Annapolis Way.
None of the houses at risk are currently occupied and no one was injured in the house that partially collapsed, Judge said.
“The next tide could finish it,” said William Shute, interim fire chief of nearby Newburyport, Massachusetts. “It’s pretty much had it — it’s going to have to be removed.”
While Plum Island so far has seen the worst damage, other towns up and down the Massachusetts shoreline also face high flooding, Judge said.
“In many areas, between openings in sea walls and things like that, at the very least we expect what you get with major coastal flooding – not just flooded-over roads but damaged roads,” Judge said.
“The same thing with homes, not just flooded-out basements, but losing porches and having other structural issues with them after the tide goes back out,” he added.
Some 12 to 20 inches of snow fell around the Boston area, with the heaviest snowfall to the south and west of the city, according to the National Weather Service.
The storm was felt in Connecticut and across southern Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. (Reuters)