Fall River combats flooding after 2 inches of rain fall on city in less than an hour
George Rizer For The Boston Globe
Even though the rain has slowed to a light drizzle and areas are beginning to drain, Fall River officials continue to battle flooding in some parts of the city.
As storms stomped across the Bay State today, Fall River was hit with almost 2 inches of rain in less than an hour, according to the National Weather Service.
“We had severe flooding,” said Mayor William Flanagan. “Several of our streets were experiencing serious floods. Motorists were stranded, and a number of our main public ways had to be closed.”
Flanagan said at least a dozen vehicles were trapped and that roads collapsed in several parts of the city.
Officials are assessing damage and providing assistance across Fall River, and have also asked for help from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, he said.
“We called in all available police, as well as firefighters,” Flanagan said. “Although calls were coming in rapidly, we were responding efficiently.”
Director of Community Maintenance Ken Pacheco said that Stafford Square, near Pleasant and Quarry streets, is notorious for flooding and that there are still two feet of water in the area, which is about the length of a city block.
“The water is still there, although it has come down about a foot, foot and a half,” he said.
Dozens of cars were trapped on Eastern Avenue earlier today, Pacheco said.
“Cars just couldn’t move,” he said. “Unfortunately they were already into the area when the water started to rise and they just couldn’t get out of there. It was high enough that they kept stalling out.”
When a car stalled on Pearce Street, the two occupants crawled onto the top of the vehicle and had to be rescued by a Department of Public Works truck, he said.
“The water was up to the windows,” Pacheco said.
Parts of Fall River near Route 79 and Davol Street were flooded, as well as areas surrounding Bay and Kempton streets, he said.
“Most of the water is subsiding,” Pacheco said.
A Department of Public Works garbage truck sank into the roadway on Crescent Street near North Main Street, Pacheco said.
“When the weight of the truck hit it, it just went through the asphalt,” he said.
Fire Inspector Roger Lambert said Lindsey and North Main streets were badly flooded.
“Several streets are pretty impassable,” Lambert said earlier today.
The weather service issued a flash flood warning for Bristol, Barnstable, and Plymouth counties, and reported that a thunderstorm causing the flooding was over the warned area at 12:39 p.m.
The warning has been extended to 4 p.m. today.
Weather service officials cautioned drivers against using roadways covered by water.
“Flood waters are usually deeper than they appear,” officials said on their website. “Just one foot of flowing water is powerful enough to sweep vehicles off the road.”Melissa Werthmann can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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