State officials say rivers in eastern Massachusetts have crested and waters are starting to recede, but getting back to normal could take some time for people in areas that were flooded after the recent deluge.
"It's going to be a very slow process," said Peter Judge, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency. "This is not going to be a very quick fix. … Over the next couple of days, there are still going to be a lot of flooding issues in a lot of these communities."
Some roads may be impassable and some basements will still have to be pumped out, he said, because of the storm that dumped more than 10 inches of rain on parts of the state from Saturday through Monday.
The National Weather Service said this afternoon that widespread flooding would continue on many rivers in eastern Massachusetts through at least tonight and warned people to steer clear of swollen streams and to be on the lookout for sudden mudslides.
Flooding remains a problem in Braintree, where the Department of Public Works Highway Division’s facility on Union Street sits in three to four feet of water.
“I don’t think anyone has ever seen a level of this type of water damage in the history of the town,” said Mayor Joseph C. Sullivan. “We have notified our insurance carrier just like homeowners are doing.”
The public works administration office has been relocated, Sullivan said. While the flooding of the facility and wet equipment has complicated recovery efforts, Sullivan said the department is operational.
About six roads in Braintree have been closed due to flooding, including Adams Street, Plain Street and Hancock Street (Route 37), said Sullivan.
“We’re seeing some improvement, but they won’t be passable for at least a couple more days,” he said.
One street was opened today, and the city hopes to open others by the end of today, Sullivan said. A bridge on Adams Street, which the Monatiquot River crested over, will undergo a structural review before the road is opened again, Sullivan said.
“The water has been so rapid that we want to make sure the bridge is not undermined in any way before we reopen the roadway,” Sullivan said.
Many concerned homeowners have contacted the mayor’s office with issues associated with flooding and sewage backup, and the city is addressing them as best as possible, Sullivan said. The city is cataloguing and itemizing damage to public facilities and private homes in the hopes of getting funding, he said.
In Quincy, Sheldon Street, Alrick Road, and Furnace Avenue still can't be used, a fire department operator said.
“So far, there has been a lot of receding,” said the operator, who declined to identify himself. “It’s just improving day by day.”
While flooding has waned in some neighborhoods, water still has climbed to the doorways of homes in the Adams Shore neighborhood, making cleanup difficult, he said.
In Pepperell, flooding has visibly retreated, but Route 119, Route 111, and some side streets remain closed, a firefighter there said.
Route 119 was closed when the Nashua River crested over the bridge, cutting the town off from neighboring Groton. The flooding has receded from about three feet to two, said the firefighter, who could not identify himself.
In Waltham, Waltham Mayor Jeannette A. McCarthy said, estimates for the cost of damage have not yet been made, but the city is working with US Representative Edward Markey's office, which is sponsoring a meeting with FEMA next week, to learn more about addressing the situation and gaining federal aid.
The city has received 442 calls -- some from homes placing repeat calls -- regarding flooding, has performed 13 water rescues, and had 83 utility shutdowns, McCarthy said.
Judge, the MEMA spokesman, said the state was dispatching four preliminary disaster assistance teams that will collect information on the storm's effects on businesses and homeowners.
"This is really to assess the impact so we can make a better case to the federal government to get federal assistance," he said.
"Be patient," he advised residents still coping with flooding. "If you know any neighbors that need assistance, now's the time to be a good neighbor."
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