Many Contingencies in the Works if Snowstorm Turns Ugly; Predictions Are Still Shaky and Flooding Threat Won’t Be Known Until 6 A.m. Saturday; City Urges Coastal Residents to Pay Close Attention to Tide Warnings Early Saturday

February 8, 2013

The City is preparing to call a snow emergency at noon today (Friday) and Mayor Dan Rizzo has announced he will hold a public information meeting in the City Council Chambers at 1 p.m. (Friday).

It will be broadcast live on local cable.

A number of contingencies have already been planned, and residents are advised – in addition to stockpiling water, milk, batteries and (of course) Wonder Bread – to mind the parking ban that will accompany the Snow Emergency.

Tide gates at Winthrop Parkway will also be shut at noon Friday, closing off the road for the duration.

The emergency parking ban also includes all DCR roads, such as Revere Beach Boulevard.

Mayor Rizzo and Council President Ira Novoselsky announced that they have secured a special parking accommodation for residents at the new Wonderland Garage. Residents can park in the garage after noon Friday until 3 p.m. Sunday for a special daily rate of only $5. However, the Sunday at 3 p.m. deadline is pretty solid. Those staying after that deadline will be hit with an automatic $12 fee.

Al D’Amico’s Seaside Parking Lot also has free parking on Saturday and Sunday, but parkers must be out by 5 a.m. on Monday morning.

Fire Chief Gene Doherty told the Journal that everything is still up in the air as it pertains to the National Weather Service (NWS) and its predictions.

“That’s the killer,” he said. “We won’t know definitely until 6 or 7 p.m. tonight (Friday). All the predictions could go out the door at that point, or they could all hold up. They’ll tell us with some certainty only at that time.”

He added that an 11:15 a.m. Friday conference call with the NWS is scheduled and Revere will be listening in.

One particularly vexing problem, Doherty said, is the threat of storm surge in Revere’s coastal areas – particularly during the 10 a.m. high tide on Saturday morning.

“That Saturday morning tide is what we’re really looking at right now,” he said. “By 6 a.m. on Saturday we’ll know whether we’re going to get hit. There’s a 25-foot storm surge out there and we’re worried about it. However, they’ve been saying this morning that it might only hit the South Shore and not impact us so much. We won’t know for sure though until it’s nearly upon us.”

Knowing that, he said he is calling for those in the Pines and Beachmont – especially – to keep particularly informed of what the tide is doing tomorrow morning. That’s because if it does hit Revere, it could lead to some major action – including evacuations and electrical shutdowns.

“We’re obviously hoping against hope that it doesn’t come to that,” he said. “However, if we get flooding impacts in Beachmont or the Pines, we’re not going to allow individual shut offs. We’ll shut off (electricity) to an entire area. We’re telling people that if there is a real threat for major flooding, they should get out of the area because we will shut off all the power to an area so we don’t get widespread electrical house fires, which we’re worried about in such a situation.

“I hate to do that to people because it shuts down heating systems and kills their pumps,” he continued. “However, for overall safety, that’s something we would do if things come to that point. People are going to have to be aware of that.”

Additionally, Mayor Rizzo and Doherty have prepared Revere High School as an emergency shelter if there are widespread power outages and people lose heat or are flooded out of their homes. The Pines Station is also being considered as a shelter as well.

Doherty said the City has 150 emergency shelter beds ready and available and the Red Cross would likely commit more if things get bad enough.

Doherty said the City would open its Emergency Operations Center at the Central Fire Station some time Friday evening. From there, necessary City officials will monitor the storm and the efforts to fight it.

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