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Scituate storm clean up to be expansive, expensive

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  March 8, 2013 04:51 PM

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Scituate officials say the storm’s worst is over, but the cleanup has just begun.

By Friday afternoon, streets were still slushy with freshly fallen snow, coastal streets were either under water or awash in rocks and debris, and a number of houses were showing signs of a weary winter.

“The deck is mostly torn apart, but inside looks good,” said Alicia Cheney, who was returning to her house on Lighthouse Road Friday afternoon after evacuating to escape the storm.

For both residents and town officials, the storm means repairing once again what Mother Nature has torn apart.

According to Town Administrator Patricia Vinchesi, the storm was less severe than Nemo, but more widespread, with damage and some coastal flooding occurring from Scituate’s southern to northern tip and snow falling everywhere.

Scituate Selectman Joseph Norton outlined the damage this time around, saying that Glades Road was especially impacted during this most recent Nor’easter. Some of the sand dunes installed on Peggotty Beach had also washed away.

Flooding and debris impacts were mainly from overwash, Norton said, and it didn't appear that any seawalls had breached. Still, the town will have to clean up the rocks and sand.

Not to mention the cost of snow removal. Though Scituate may be eligible to receive aid for Nemo, this unexpected Friday snowfall will be entirely borne by the town.

“This storm here doesn’t appear we qualify for any type of state or federal aid. There was no emergency issuance in Plymouth County,” Norton said. “So individual towns will be absorbing the cost of this storm.”

Between the manpower needed to clear roads of both debris and snow, to the rented equipment – backhoes, loaders, plows, trucks – the cost will be high.

“They don’t come cheap and the roads have to be cleared,” Norton said. “I hesitate putting a number, but I would say in excess of $100,000 is not out of the question.”

Costs from the town shelter, which closed at 2 p.m. on Friday, were unclear. However unlike during Nemo, the shelter did not see much activity, mainly because fewer people lost their power.

Fewer than 100 people lost power in town, and it was expected to be restored by Friday night.

The town also did not ruin any equipment evacuating people from their houses at the height of the storm.

“There’s no way of knowing how many people evacuated, but we didn’t get one call to evacuate people after the fact,” said Fire Chief and Emergency Management Director Richard Judge.

Scituate may also see some additional damage from a high tide predicted for Friday night, but Judge said the wind is now coming from the north, which should help knock some of the waves down.

The town may have more comprehensive damage estimate come Monday, Judge said, when officials hope they will be able to go out and survey impacted streets, send building inspectors out to look at some homes’ electrical wiring, and make a list of what other town infrastructure may need fixing.

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