Monson residents who tuned in to the news Friday night braced for the worst.
A tornado watch had been issued for the region around the Western Massachusetts town, where memories resonate of the twister that leveled homes and caused at least $29 million worth of damage last summer.
“People were just really traumatized, to tell you the truth,” said Karen King, the founder of a volunteer group that helps residents affected by that storm. She said some people even left town Friday to avoid another nightmare scenario.
And while residents now have a better sense of how to prepare for a major storm, “it doesn’t take that feeling of helplessness away,” King said.
Monson avoided the worst and the tornado watch was lifted Friday night, but on Sunday morning torrential rains fell, causing brooks to overflow, forcing the closure of Route 32, and damaging other roads, according to the National Weather Service.
The weather service estimated that Sunday’s storm dropped more than 5 inches of rain on the affected areas, according to town administrator Gretchen Neggers, but Monson dodged serious damage.
“There have been reports of some flooded cellars in residential properties but no known significant damage to private property,” she wrote.
Cecelia May, 59, a resident of Beebe Road, one of the roads hardest hit on Sunday, said 3 to 4 inches of water soaked her garage floor and damaged a stereo, paperwork, and bookcases.
“The garage floor is total dirt and filth,” May said. “I’m going to have to totally empty the garage and power wash it to get it out of there.”
A neighbor, Mona Hottin, 57, said the street is on a hill and a brook overflowed near the top, sending water rushing to the bottom. She said the water flooded a neighbor's garden near the bottom of the street.
Hottin recalled forecasters on Friday urging residents to prepare for the possibility of damage from a tornado.
“They were saying that the conditions were just right for right over Monson, and if you lived in this area, then you should get in the basement right now,” Hottin said.
According to the weather service, Sunday’s flash flooding washed out Beebe Road, Chestnut Street, and Palmer Road, in addition to closing down Route 32, but they were passable by Sunday night.
Neggers said in a statement Sunday evening that nine roads were closed during the day, but that all were open to emergency vehicles and local traffic by 6 p.m. “The nature of the damage is not expected to cause any long-term impact on the community or its ongoing and robust recovery from the June 1, 2011, tornado,” she said.
That twister ripped through the town and damaged more than 270 homes and displaced at least 75 families.
In a Globe opinion piece that ran on the first anniversary of the storm, Neggers and Leonard Weake, president of the Quaboag Hills Chamber of Commerce, wrote that dozens of homes were still being repaired and rebuilt.
On Sunday, Neggers said she did not have access to current recovery statistics, but she knows many residents are still rebuilding.
“Some properties that have not been repaired that are open to the elements may incur additional water damage and any areas with new landscaping or site work may be subject to erosion,” she wrote.
King said she felt the town would have no trouble recovering from the Sunday flooding, which also spilled onto two local ballfields. “It’s got us down, but we’re going to pick ourselves right back up,” she said. “Monson’s strong.”