New England gets more rain, watches Hurricane Lee’s path
LEOMINster, Mass. (AP) — Already rain-soaked parts of New England expected more rain Wednesday, as residents in Massachusetts and Rhode Island spent the day cleaning up flood damage as they braced for Hurricane Lee as it headed north toward the region. .
Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey issued a state of emergency Tuesday night in the wake of “catastrophic flooding and property damage” in two counties and other communities. The 10 inches (25 cm) of rain over six hours earlier in the week was a “200-year event,” said Matthew Belk, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Boston.
Although there are no plans to call in the National Guard, the state Emergency Management Agency is closely monitoring the weather and is ready to help, Healey said Wednesday.
She said the state is monitoring the condition of levees in many communities and urged residents to take any warnings about potential flooding seriously and stay off the roads when orders are issued.
“Something that seems so simple can turn, in just a couple of hours, into something very dangerous, potentially deadly and very destructive,” Healey said.
Rain caused several sinkholes in Leominster, Massachusetts, including one at a dealership where several cars were swallowed up. In Providence, Rhode Island, heavy rains flooded a parking lot and parts of a shopping center. Firefighters used rubber boats to rescue more than twenty people stranded in cars.
Parking lots at several businesses briefly became lakes in Leominster and North Attleboro and many front yards are still partially covered by water. For the second day, families were busy assessing the damage and removing flood-damaged rubble. The sounds of electric generators filled the air in many neighborhoods, while residents worked to draw water from the basements of their homes.
Dawn Packer, who runs a home preschool in North Attleboro, looked across the street Monday evening to see a UPS truck floating in several feet of water. Her yard was soon flooded.
“We ran downstairs. It was dry. We were so happy about that. I started putting all of my child care center’s stuff up high. Suddenly, the door crashed open. The water was so strong. I just smashed the door down and poured 4 feet,” she said. “The refrigerator rose into the air and fell on its side. “It was horrific.”
After a dry day, rain began to fall in Leominster again Wednesday afternoon. Parts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island were under a flash flood warning. Earlier in the day, heavy rain fell in Danbury, Connecticut, where officials said they had to rescue several people from vehicles stuck in floodwaters.
Rainfall from Hurricane Lee did not contribute to flooding earlier this week. But meteorologists said the hurricane could inundate parts of the country’s coastal northeast over the weekend. Lee is moving north and could make landfall in Nova Scotia, Canada, possibly as a tropical storm, forecasters said.
“The ground is saturated. “We can’t take any more,” Leominster Mayor Dean Mazzarella said at a news conference Wednesday in the city about 40 miles (65 kilometers) northwest of Boston. But he said the city has emergency resources ready.” For any weather.”
Mazzarella said up to 300 people had been evacuated by Tuesday morning from the city, which had not seen such widespread devastation since the 1936 hurricane. Most buildings downtown were flooded and some collapsed. Rail service was also disrupted.
Mazzarella said the city is trying to help provide assistance to homeowners and businesses that sustained damage. He said that initial estimates for the city’s infrastructure restoration projects could range from $25 million to $40 million.
Arthur Elbithall, Leominster’s director of emergency management, said two of the city’s 24 dams were damaged. They have persevered, and the city is strengthening them.
New England has seen its share of flooding this summer, including a storm that dumped two months’ worth of rain in two days in Vermont in July, resulting in two deaths. Scientists have discovered that storms around the world are forming in warmer climates, making heavy rainfall a more frequent reality now. A warming world will only make the situation worse.
McCormack reported from Concord, New Hampshire. Associated Press writers Holly Ramer in New Hampshire, Steve LeBlanc and Roderick Njoy in Massachusetts, David Sharp in Maine, Lisa Rathke in Vermont and David Lieb in Missouri contributed to this report.
This story has been updated to correct the misspelling of Dawn Packer’s last name in one case, from Packard, and to correct time elements in the portion of the story in which Packer is included.