Justin A. Rice for Boston.comCompared to Peabody and other surrounding towns, Beverly’s streets seemed to be relatively spared by a powerful weather system that dumped nearly 6 inches of rain on the North Shore overnight.
While serious flooding was also being reported in Swampscott, Salem and Lynn as commuters struggled to find their way around roads closed or restricted by flooding, Beverly Mayor William F. Scanlon, Jr. said no city streets were rendered impassable.
This morning, the National Weather Service in Taunton reported that Swampscott received 5.73 inches of rain followed by Peabody with 4.55 inches. Beverly and Salem received 4.3 and 4.23 inches, respectively, while 3.8 inches were reported in Marblehead.
“It’s hard to compare ourselves to others just yet,” Scanlon said amid stacks of papers and a large umbrella in his office this morning, before noting that the low-lying, 62-acre Cummings Center was the hardest hit part of his city.
Officials at the office and retail park with 540 commercial clients said it was in fact the hardest they had been hit by a storm in 15 years.
After wading through small waves rolling through the parking lot in his in knee-high rain boots, Cummings Center Assistant Division Manager, John DiRusso pointed out a 5-foot high loading dock that was completely flooded.
“We’re at sea level, high tide was 5:35 a.m.; all the players were aligned, heavy rain, high tide,” DiRusso said of a storm that hit hardest around 6:30 a.m. this morning. “That’s a 5-foot high loading dock. If you walk in there you’d be up to your chest. That’s why the caution tape is there so nobody will walk off. I have another situation like it down here. I’ve never seen it like this.”
Some of the inside hallways and businesses at the Cummings Centers were also soaked as crews worked to vacuum it up as quickly as possible. Others business owners struggled to restore phone lines and Internet connections crucial for running their credit card machines.
“There has been a lot of rain and a lot of storms in the 15 years since we’ve owned the property, but I’ve never seen anything like this,” Vice President and General Manager Stephen Drohosky said. “We have 100 people on staff and they are all deployed. We’ll have to assess [the damage] as quickly as we can and jump on it.”
Scanlon was also working on accessing the damage citywide yesterday morning, saying it was unclear how many homes or businesses were flooded. He also said it was unclear if the city would receive federal or state funding to help with cleanup efforts.
Peter Judge, spokesman for the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, said municipalities appear to be dealing with the flooding crisis, and so far have not appealed to the state for help.
The weather service issued a flood advisory for Essex County that was in effect until 1:45 p.m.
“We had an area of thunderstorms develop off the North Shore that just kept moving over the same area,” said weather service meteorologist Matt Doody. “The storms brought flash flooding and heavy rainfall for two to three hours between 5 a.m. and 7 a .m. this morning. It was a line of thunderstorms that just kept raking the area.”
Beverly has completed five major flood mitigation projects since 1996, including one last year, and Scanlon said they seemed to have paid off.
“But Mother Nature can always beat you if she plays hard and long enough,” he said. “Some of these systems were temporarily overwhelmed by the storm. We will do our best to help people pump out of flooded basements.”
Jaime Lutz, Globe Correspondent and John R. Ellement, Globe Staff writer contributed to this report
Justin A. Rice can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.