While conditions were much worse south of the Boston area, Revere took some punches as Hurricane Sandy rolled in with Tropical Storm force winds on Monday afternoon, creating some mean looking seas and a situation that was no joking matter.
Often, weather reports become exaggerated, and once a storm gets to the Revere area, it can often be much ado about nothing.
The storm on Monday was certainly something, and while Revere got off without any major damage, the potential for some perilous situations was present all day long.
“That was quite a storm,” said Beachmont Assistant Harbormaster Arthur MacDonald. “I haven’t seen anything like that since at least 2000. The sea had a lot of force and a lot of power in it.”
That was the sentiment for many onlookers who piled onto the top of Endicott Avenue or ventured out onto Revere Beach at high tide around noon Monday.
The force of the waves was awesome – hitting the seawall or the sand with such strength that it shook the ground underneath.
The wind was non-stop, like a monstrous fan blowing in one’s face, and it energized into the afternoon. At one point, around 1:30 p.m. on Monday, the wind was so fierce that there were white out conditions on the Boulevard – essentially chasing all the storm chasers away.
However, when it came to flooding and damage, the City seemingly might have gotten away with one.
Fire Chief Gene Doherty said damage was minimal despite the strong wind and the tremendous storm surge – noting that the “show” was more severe than the repercussions.
“It was a wild scene for sure,” he said. “We had white out conditions at one point and the winds were brutal. When it came to damage and flooding, it really wasn’t that bad. We put on a lot of extra guys and used all our staff people. We were inundated with calls and we had a lot of power outages and downed trees. Flooding, though, was minimal.
I have to say that is surprising for a storm of this strength,” he continued. “It is amazing in Beachmont what was done there by the Army Corps. What they did with that two feet of extra seawall, the gates and the revetment, that helped tremendously. I rode along with Mayor Rizzo down there at one point and noted that before that project, this storm would have had the place under two feet of water. Everyone scoffed at that when they did it, including me, but it really made a difference.”
Doherty was referring to the Army Corps flood mitigation project that was completed in 2002 and included some very contentious changes to the Beachmont coastline.
In the afternoon and evening hours on Monday, power outages all over the City plagued several neighborhoods.
Most of Squire Road was out all afternoon, with some areas like Pemberton Street getting service returned just after 9 p.m.
There were numerous downed wires reported on streets like Lancaster Avenue, Bellingham Avenue, Avalon Street, Crescent Avenue, Charles Avenue and Reservoir Avenue.
A tree reportedly fell on a house at Sewall Street, and the Mutual Gas Station sign on Broadway and Revere Street was blown down.
Additionally, both roads across Short Beach had to be closed twice during the storm due to impassable conditions.
On Tuesday morning, a transformer on North Shore Road and Kimball Avenue exploded and caused major power outages from Shirley Avenue to Revere Street and up to Oak Island.
Fire Chief Doherty and Police Chief Joe Cafarelli, along with Mayor Dan Rizzo, led the charge in preparing for the storm last Sunday once it appeared that the hurricane was gaining strength and coming north.
Rizzo called a meeting on Sunday morning to organize the efforts and discuss the weak points, and then they recapped those efforts Monday morning.