Mayor Walsh sees climate change warning in Boston flooding

Boston firefighters waded through flood waters from Boston Harbor in front of the Marriott Long Warf hotel Thursday.
Steve Annear/Globe Staff
Boston firefighters waded through flood waters from Boston Harbor in front of the Marriott Long Warf hotel Thursday.

Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh said Thursday that the flooding in areas of the city from the day’s intense snowstorm underlined the potential problems the city faces from rising waters caused by climate change.

“If anyone wants to question global warming, just see where the flood zones are,” he said. Some of those zones did not flood 30 years ago, he said.

Snow, floods slam Mass. at storm’s height

“We do have some concerns, and we’re going to stay on top of it,” he said.


“I think it reminds developers as they think about development, how do they build into that development potential protections?” he said.

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He noted that Fire Commissioner Joe Finn said the Marriott Long Wharf had not been affected when water rose in the area at about midday Thursday.

The hotel had done some renovations and “work to secure the building,” he said, but “not all buildings are like that. Some buildings were built 100 years ago.”

“I think this is a reminder today of what could happen in a storm like this,” he said. “If this wasn’t snow and this was rain, we’d have additional flooding today.”

It’s “something we will talk about more” going forward, he said.


He said flooding had also been reported in the Seaport District, Charlestown, North End, East Boston, and Dorchester. Because of ocean flooding, Blue Line trains were ordered to pass through, but not stop, at Aquarium Station near Long Wharf.

The city has already launched the Climate Ready Boston initiative, which is intended to help the city plan for the future effects of climate change. One of the ideas raised in a report by the initiative was building a vast sea barrier from Hull to Deer Island to protect the city, the Globe reported last year.

The developer of the Seaport Square project said its project had remained “high and dry” during the storm and all businesses would be open normal hours on Friday.

“We agree entirely with the Mayor’s focus on constructing buildings that are protected from storm events such as this. None of our Seaport buildings or roadways were affected by the storm, validating the administration’s prioritization of this important issue,” said a statement from WS Development.

Storm slams Mass., bringing hurricane-strength winds