Mass. coastal towns contend with yet another storm

Linda Giovanni took her daily walk next to the Fishermen's Memorial in Gloucester.
John Blanding/Globe Staff
Linda Giovanni took her daily walk next to the Fishermen's Memorial in Gloucester.

PLYMOUTH — Rosemarie Bradley, who lives on Hillside Drive in Plymouth, said the storm was worse than the previous nor’easters this month. Her power was out for five hours Tuesday morning, and it was flickering on and off by the afternoon.

“It’s really bad,” Bradley said. “In past storms, you had either high winds or high waves, but with this one you have the waves, the winds, the snow, and it’s the third one in a row.”

She said she bought headlamps and lanterns in preparation for the storm, but she’s still “cautiously worried” and unsure the power will continue to hold.


“It’s a little chilly,” she said. “But I think if you live in the area you expect summer days are beautiful and winter storms are impressive.”

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GLOUCESTER — Susan Gilardi and her “storm troopers” — her three grandsons — were out walking the waterfront near the Fisherman’s Memorial when high tide struck, but did not dunk, this seaside city.

“I said, ‘Let’s get out of the house and go to Dunkin’ Donuts or something,’ ” she said as Braden, Milo, and Luka Averle turned their backs to a howling wind. “They like it. It’s cool.”

“We’re going to Florida on Thursday,” Luka added.


Gloucester and communities along the entire coast of Massachusetts have faced flooding conditions throughout the winter season and are now weathering the third nor’easter to hit Massachusetts since March 2.

During a January storm, the city declared a storm emergency and dozens of people drove their vehicles away from their homes and parked them in the lower lot at Gloucester High School. Some 80 cars were damaged or destroyed when tides breached a levee on a canal connecting the harbor to the Annisquam River, sending sea water racing across hundreds of yards of athletic fields.

This Tuesday?

Zero cars are in the lot.

The streets of Gloucester were slippery and empty as high tide approached Tuesday. Cape Ann’s Marina Resort, which has had two significant floods in the first months of the year, looked like it would escape another soaking with this storm, as high tide left a couple of feet between itself and another visit to the resort’s pool.


Elsewhere in the city, winds and massive waves were whipping the coast, but roads remained open as plows continued through what is expected to be a long day of heavy accumulation.


SCITUATE — Along the coast in this South Shore town, waves crashed over the sea wall and blew spray between the beach houses where piles of wet sand had collected when the Atlantic Ocean flowed into the area during nor’easter #1 and nor’easter #2.

Nothing changed for nor’easter #3 when high tide hit around 9 a.m. Tuesday.

The ocean poured over the sea walls, flooding the low-lying streets and knocking out power as powerful winds pummeled the neighborhood. One short street, Wampatuck Way, was transformed into a swimming pool, water rushing into people’s garages. Every gust of wind brought a tall spray of ocean water that streamed between houses and down the roads.

The road to the Scituate Lighthouse became nearly impassable as water flooded in from the left and the right. The wind was strong enough to blow animals and people, except by 9:30 a.m. the weather was so bad that no one was outside.


SCITUATE — The Village Market grocery store was open for business Tuesday even as snow piled up in the parking lot.

Manager Ray Peterson said he would stay open unless they lost power. In a storm most people buy the basics: water, bread, milk . . . and wine.

Winding through the aisles with a full cart was Debbie DiMare, who is from Scituate but lives in Florida. She said she has been in town for a month because her mother was sick and died recently. Some family members are staying longer because of the storm so she was shopping for eight people.

Her cart was full with ice cream, frozen pizza, pasta sauce, and ingredients to make gluten-free chocolate cupcakes with homemade icing.

“I do it all,” she said.

Next, Jim Dillon came into the store wearing an orange knit cap, yellow rain boots, and a long firefighter’s bunker coat made of a material he said gets warmer when it get wet.

Dillon usually walks 6 miles a day, but today he only walked the half-mile to the grocery store.

“I’m just coming to pay bills and go to the bank,” he said.

Behind Dillon was Al Vickery, pushing a cart with oatmeal and a box of tea bags in it. Vickery said he moved to Scituate from Plymouth a year and a half ago, and his oceanfront home has already been flooded twice by storms.

Those times, he said, he and his wife fled to a motel in Braintree. Not this time. He plans on riding it out.

“As long as the water doesn’t actually come in the house I can deal with the rest,” said Vickery, a general contractor.

Vickery was headed home to watch the waves out his windows. Half the homes around him are vacation homes, he said, but the other half are locals who don’t flee for anything.

“It’s a tough little town,” he said.


On Cape Cod, police in Yarmouth urged people to stay off the roads.

“Unless it is a dire emergency, please do not drive or go outside,” Yarmouth police Deputy Chief Steven G. Xiarhos said in an e-mail to the Globe. “We have white out conditions, power outages, and numerous trees, utility poles, small fires, and live wires down.”

As of 11:15 a.m. Tuesday, Eversource reported that 2,488 customers in Yarmouth were without power.


Red Brook Road in the area of Ostrom Road in Falmouth was closed due to a tree that had fallen into the power lines on Tuesday morning, police said on Twitter.

A resident of Red Brook Road said she watched as the pine tree slowly leaned and was uprooted from the ground, falling into a power line across the street from her house. Speaking on a rotary phone, Deb Vieira, 63, said her power had been out since about 8:30 a.m., along with most of her neighbors.

“There’s about 6 inches of snow — it’s wet and the branches are bending down,” Vieira said. “It seems wetter now and I went out to shovel about an hour ago.”

Vieira said she planned to stay put as the storm continued, cook on her camping stove with her husband, and venture across the street to her neighbors’ house, where there was a full-house generator, only if necessary.

“We’re old campers,” Vieira said. “So if worse comes to worst, with our neighbors we help each other out.”


In the Bristol County coastal community of Mattapoisett, thousands lost electricity and the town’s police were responding — yet again — to reports of downed trees, downed power lines, and motorists with fender-benders on slippery roads.

The wind, Officer David Moniz said, “is blowing pretty good.”


The Duxbury senior center is being used as a warming center for residents who need a place to go and charge their phones and other electronic devices.

The Duxbury Fire Department has been busy responding to “numerous trees and wires down throughout town,” according to tweets by Duxbury fire Captain Rob Reardon.

“The snow is wet and sticking to the trees and power lines in Duxbury,” he tweeted. “Stay away from any power lines that are on the ground!!!!”


In Cohasset, Town Manager Christopher Senior said about half the town was without power at 10:30 a.m. Senior said the town’s power is fed through two National Grid circuits out of Scituate and Norwell. The Norwell circuit went out at around 7 a.m.

“There are no power lines down,” Senior said. “This is what the most frustrating thing about this is: they’re trying to figure out what this is.”

Senior said the town also experienced a problem with the feeder system about 10 days ago, when the town was 100 percent out of power during another nor’easter.

Senior said “sticky, wet snow” was beginning to coat trees and power lines, but the town did not yet have plans to create a shelter.

“If things are not so good after the snow and wind dies down, we’ll assess from there,” he said.


In Falmouth, Town Manager Julian Suso said public works and Eversource crews were hard at work Tuesday trying to maintain power lines and falling trees.

“We’ve had a number of outages, and it has increased as the morning goes on,” Suso said. “There are a significant number of trees and limbs that are downed and lots of heavy, wet snow.”

Suso said town hall would be open until the afternoon as a temporary warming station.

“Given the duration of the storm, it’s relatively fast-moving,” Suso said. “We’re going to continue to monitor things to the best of our ability.”


In Dennis, there were scattered power outages, as wind howled 40 to 50 miles per hour, Assistant fire Chief John Donlan said.

“We’ve got piles and piles and piles of power outages all over town,” Donlan said.

Around 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Donlan said six emergency units were on the road clearing fallen trees and limbs.

“The snow is very, very heavy and wet so it’s taking down a lot of lines,” he said. “The wind is howling too.”


Travis Andersen of the Globe Staff contributed to this report. John R. Ellement can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.