‘Bomb Cyclone’ Ravages Revere:Severe Weather Not Been Seen Since ’78

By Sue Ellen Woodcock

Mills Ave. was swamped with the Saugus River which flooded the Riverside neighborhood,especially down on the boat yard side of the community.

Residents are looking forward to this week’s thaw after getting whacked last Thursday with a Nor’easter (or Bomb Cyclone storm system) that dumped about 18 inches of drifting snow, flooded everything in range and then whammed the area with Arctic temperatures. Sunday morning it was a balmy 1 degree. Just about everyone who was around for the Blizzard of 1978 said this storm was worse. Compounding the problems with this storm was the astronomical high tide cause by the Full Wolf Moon. In Ward 1 the lower portion of Pearl Avenue, which overlooks the Belle Isle Marsh and Short Beach, was flooded with six feet of water mixed with the snow. The waters started rising around 11:15 a.m. and high tide hit at 12:36. Anything that was not pumped out or dug out just froze. “We are in decent shape but there is still work to be done,” said Mayor Brian Arrigo on cable television. Despite the frigid temperatures he said crews will continue the clean up. He noted that the clean up of the frozen chunks of ice will take time.

Snow removal from private property is the responsibility of the owner,” Arrigo said. “Please be conscious of your own snow removal. I urge residents to be patient as we deal with the aftermath.”

Arrigo said the city had out nearly 60 pieces of equipment working on clean up for over 20 hours. He commended the police, fire, DPW crews and contractors for their work before and after the storm. Arrigo added there were over 400 calls to the cities new 311 center.

Revere DPW head Don Goodwin said his concerns were the cities infrastructure. The storm drains did not work because so much water came in that there was no place for it to drain. The ocean water was coming up through the drainage system.

“We went though a tough event. It’s going to take a couple of days to get back to some normalcy,” Goodwin said, adding that a lot of cars had to be towed out.

The storm also dealt a beating on the DPW equipment. Goodwin said a couple of sanders were hit the most. The sand somehow got wet and then froze in the truck.

“We were able to keep the city open for public safety at all times,” Goodwin said. “We were busy with calls to pump out basements.

He said newer tide gates worked well with the storm surge. Depending on elevations, anyplace with marsh around was also at risk of flooding. Parts of the lower end of Shawmut Street were protected.

One resident slammed by the flooding on Pearl Avenue was Saber Abougalla, owner of the Good Diner. He lost three cars, heat and electricity.

“The basement is flood and I have no heat or electricity,” he said, adding that he tried to sleep in the home, but it was just too cold. His wife and family found shelter elsewhere and he was seeking a generator.

Laura Douglas of 44 Pearl Ave. said she was up high enough to spare her basement from flooding,

“It came up fast. I’ve seen it flood before but never like this,” Douglas said. As for her neighbors, “to say they had water in the basement is an understatement.”

Along the Saugus River in the Riverside section, waters rose above anything ever seen before.

Shortly after noon on Thursday Sgt. Chris Giannino reported that Northshore Road was a foot underwater and rising fast. Soon after Oak Island was also deemed impassable.

“We’ve never had any water like this, the other end near the boatyard typically floods,” said Doreen Weinberg of 71 Mills Ave.

Weinberg said she has lived there for 60 years and never saw the river running into people’s driveways and basements.

“It was pouring into the window of one house,” Weinberg said. “A lot of people are now stuck in their driveways because of the snow, watering pouring in and then freezing.

The high tides forced the closure of Northshore Road and Route 107 during the height the storm.

While school children enjoyed two snow days high school students in the Jr. ROTC Snow Angels group shoveled out about 60 homes that needed assistance. Members hit the streets to shovel out those unable to do it themselves after Thursday’s nor’easter.

Despite the arctic temperatures, the teens said they were more than happy to help.

“There’s a lot of snow, and it’s cold, but it’s nice to help people,” said Junior ROTC member Kaitlin Mendalka.

Bennington Street by the Beachmont School flooded as large chunks of ice were also lifted up by the rising tide. Belle Isle Marsh is full of huge chunks of ice.

Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito was in Winthrop last Friday, and she did say the effected communities will gather information on public infrastructure damage to determine if Massachusetts could qualify for federal disaster aid. Certain criteria have to be met, including that damages exceed $9.6 million across the Commonwealth. She said about 40 communities in the Commonwealth were impacted by snow and flooding.

“My heart goes out to my constituents whose homes were impacted by flood waters during this past week’s storm.  During this time of recovery, and during further coastal storms, I would encourage my constituents to call 3-1-1 to receive non-emergency information such as shelter locations, and disaster assistance programs,” said Rep. RoseLee Vincent.  “For future storms, if anybody is without power, please call National Grid at 1-800-465-1212. This number also provides you with updates on expected service restoration when available.

Further, to report a gas emergency, please call National Grid at 1-800-233-5325.  To report a cable outage, call Comcast’s customer service line at 1-800-934-6489.  If power and cable are on, always check RevereTV for the most local updates, and call Revere’s 3-1-1 to report non-emergency local storm-related issues.

“Finally, I want to commend the Revere Police and Fire Departments for their work keeping our residents safe during this past week’s dangerous coastal storm, as well as our DPW crews for working diligently and efficiently to clear the roadways around our community,” Vincent said..

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