Gov. Healey declares state of emergency in Mass. due to ‘catastrophic’ flooding

Leominster and North Attleboro suffered some of the worst flood damage caused by Monday's thunderstorms.

Road crews assess a sinkhole on Chestnut Street in Leominster, Mass. on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2023. Parts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island were flooded by heavy rain Monday night. Michael Casey/AP Photo

Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey declared a state of emergency Tuesday night after thunderstorms and heavy rainfall caused “catastrophic” flash flooding in Worcester and Bristol Counties on Monday.

“Upwards of 10 inches of rain fell in Worcester and Bristol Counties, causing widespread flooding, downed trees, power outages and damage to homes, businesses, and infrastructure, including bridges, dams and train tracks,” Healey’s office wrote in a press release.

Leominster was particularly hard hit by the flooding Monday night, which the National Weather Service called “life-threatening.” Mayor Dean Mazzarella declared a state of emergency, and city schools closed the next day.


Photos and video from Leominster Monday night showed submerged cars in roads and parking lots, flooded backyards, and people being rescued from their cars. At least two sinkholes opened up during the storm, according to WCVB.

North Attleboro also experienced severe flooding on Monday. According to a press release, many roads in the town were flooded, and firefighters rescued several people from their cars. Town officials issued a disaster declaration, and North Attleboro Middle School was opened as a shelter.

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Healey said Tuesday night that six state agencies, including police and firefighters, have been activated to assist communities ravaged by the flooding. The emergency declaration gives the governor expanded powers to assist and coordinate the state’s response to the emergency situation.

“Today I saw firsthand the devastating impacts of severe flooding in Leominster and North Attleboro,” she said in the release. “…We’re grateful for the public officials who have been going above and beyond to respond to this emergency, and our hearts are with the people of Massachusetts who are confronting catastrophic damage to their homes, businesses, and communities.” 

With more rain predicted for Wednesday, people in parts of Leominster have been advised to evacuate due to concerns about the Barrett Pond Dam. Resources are available to city residents affected by the flooding.


During similarly heavy rainfall on Aug. 8, many municipalities across Massachusetts suffered extensive flooding damage. North Andover was among those most affected, with the town reporting nearly $30 million in damages.


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