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Roads flooded throughout Boston area after heavy rain

Luan Smerqaku, 31, awaited a tow truck Sunday after flood waters overtook Boston Street in Lynn. The city received more than 8 inches of rain.
Luan Smerqaku, 31, awaited a tow truck Sunday after flood waters overtook Boston Street in Lynn. The city received more than 8 inches of rain.(Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)

Torrential rains that flooded roads, caused a train to derail, and stranded cars throughout Greater Boston Sunday threw an especially hard punch at the North Shore.

Lynn was slammed with 8.14 inches of rainfall and neighboring Peabody picked up 7.81 inches Sunday morning.

“It was a few hours of complete craziness,” said Lynn Fire Chief Stephen Archer in a phone interview.

A car on Bridge Street in Lynn was submerged in flood waters.
A car on Bridge Street in Lynn was submerged in flood waters.(Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)

About 600 residents were still without power late Sunday afternoon after flood waters rose to a dangerous level, forcing National Grid to switch off electricity, according to Archer. As of late Sunday night, Archer said assessment crews were still working — and probably would continue to do so throughout the night — to check houses in the hardest-hit areas one by one before restoring power.

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Roofs collapsed under the onslaught of rain, Archer said, and some drivers had to be rescued from stranded cars in inflatable boats.

Lynn police Sergeant Peter Holey said the city “looks like a mess,” with debris all over the streets.

Angel Cardenas (left), 7, of Lynn, and his brother Chris, 10, picked up a chair that they found in the flood waters surrounding their home.
Angel Cardenas (left), 7, of Lynn, and his brother Chris, 10, picked up a chair that they found in the flood waters surrounding their home.(Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)

At the peak of the storm, 27 roads or intersections were impassable in the city, he said in a phone interview.

By late Sunday afternoon, the city had towed more than 100 vehicles and more were abandoned and awaiting removal, according to Holey.

A tow truck driver worked to pull a stranded car out of the flood waters on Boston Street.
A tow truck driver worked to pull a stranded car out of the flood waters on Boston Street.(Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)

In Boston, a Green Line trolley approaching Back of the Hill stop in Jamaica Plain went off the rails when it hit “roadway debris created by the heavy rain” a little after 7 a.m., said Joe Pesaturo, a spokesman for the MBTA.

A manhole cover wedged under the front wheels of the E-line car, which had no passengers on board and was traveling at less than 10 miles per hour, Pesaturo said in an e-mail. Service resumed after the train was placed back on the track.

Flooding made sections of Storrow Drive in Boston impassable and stalled cars in Cambridge and Somerville, according to Lenore Correia, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

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A runner tried to run through a flooded section of Memorial Drive in Cambridge that passes under the Longfellow Bridge.
A runner tried to run through a flooded section of Memorial Drive in Cambridge that passes under the Longfellow Bridge.(Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)

In Cambridge, which was hardest hit in the Boston area, 1.36 inches of rain fell in just an hour, according to the weather service, and the city got 2.2 inches overall.

The heaviest downpours came between 6:45 and 7:45 a.m. as the storm moved northward, Correia said. Boston received 1.57 inches at Logan, according to the service.

Flash flooding in the area caused shutdowns on parts of Memorial Drive in Cambridge and Storrow Drive in Boston, State Police said.

Scattered showers peppered the Boston area throughout the day, causing the city to cancel the annual GospelFest, an outdoor concert on City Hall Plaza.

And forecasters at the weather service said the chance of rain is likely to hang around for days, with the only expected dry day this week to be Thursday.

On the North Shore Sunday, heavy rain inundated some roads, temporarily closing sections of Route 1 in Lynnfield and most of the Lynnway in Revere for hours, according to State Police.

In Lynn, Holey said, flooding was far more widespread than in most storms.

“This was different in that there were many streets that flooded that do not usually flood,” he said.

The process to calculate damages has not yet begun, he said, but a number of businesses reported flooding.

“Those poor people are going to have to assess the damage there,” said Holey, noting that street cleanup would probably take days.

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For 31-year-old Luan Smerqaku of Salem, Sunday turned into a hellish commute through Lynn. After finishing a shift at Market Basket in Revere, Smerqaku was taking back roads to avoid traffic when his engine cut out on Boston Street.

“I was just trying to go home, following cars,” he said in a phone interview. “I thought it was only a little bit of flood water.”

While taking a left, Smerqaku found himself stalled in waters that nearly reached the license plate of his Dodge Charger .

“It’s something you never expect,” he said, as his wife drove him home from where he abandoned the car. “I’m still soaked.”


Lucas Phillips can be reached at lucas.phillips@globe.com.