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Rain soaks streets, floods tunnel ramp

Radio towers fall in North Adams

Drivers navigated a flooded street in New Bedford.

David W. Oliveira/Standard Times via AP

Drivers navigated a flooded street in New Bedford.

Several communities across Massachusetts experienced minor flooding Sunday from steady rains that soaked the state into the late evening.

The National Weather Service issued flood watches for several counties including Berkshire, Essex, and Hampden, and coastal flood advisories for other counties including Norfolk, Plymouth, and Suffolk. The watches expired about 8 p.m. as rain tapered off across the state, said Rebecca Gould, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Taunton.

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“There is still some rain, particularly across central and western Massachusetts, so there are going to be areas with minor ponding on roads and big puddles,” Gould said shortly before 8 p.m. Sunday.

During parts of the day, winds gusted up to 40 miles per hour along the North Shore, but National Weather Service meteorologist Glenn Field said flooding was not much of an issue there.

“You have to watch out, especially on Cape Ann, Plum Island — that’s always an issue — with the north winds, for some erosion,” Field said.

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Fall River and parts of Rhode Island experienced some flash floods Sunday morning. Acushnet recorded the highest rainfall total in the state, 5.27 inches, in the 24 hours ending Sunday evening. Boston received about 2.78 inches. Kingston, R.I., recorded a high total of 5.53 inches of rain.

“This is a good soaking rain for early spring,” said Nicole Belk, a National Weather Service meteorologist. “The rivers were actually running low for this time of year before this rain hit, so it could have been worse.”

The heavy rains caused some damage, closing roads and damaging infrastructure.

The Prudential Tunnel ramp off the eastbound Massachusetts Turnpike was flooded and closed for more than four hours before reopening about 5:15 p.m., Massachusetts Department of Transportation spokesman Mike Verseckes said in an e-mail.

The Copley ramp remained open.

In North Adams, rain and wind toppled two radio towers, interrupting cellphone and police radio service, police said. Residents could still call 911 from landline telephones, and authorities said dispatchers monitored the department’s Facebook page for emergencies.

In a statement posted to the Facebook page late Sunday, North Adams Mayor Richard J. Alcombright said emergency services had been restored and cellphone service was expected to be back up within a day.

The Worcester Telegram and Gazette reported that water leaked into the Leominster Police Department’s dispatch center, damaging the system police use to interact with state emergency officials. Routine calls were not affected.

In Chelmsford, the rain caused a sinkhole to open under Boston Road (Route 4), near Brian Road, said police Lieutenant Colin Spence.

“The road, due to the water, became undermined, and Boston Road is going to be closed until at least Thursday,” Spence said.

Police were diverting traffic from Boston Road to Warren Avenue and Parker Road, he said.

Gal Tziperman Lotan can be reached at
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