Region drying out after flooding, overnight storms
Heavy rains that deluged parts of Southeastern Massachusetts and Central New Hampshire on Thursday night diminished by Friday morning as the storm began to move out of the region, leaving behind flooding in some areas.
In southeastern Plymouth County, there had been several reports of roads closed or washed out before a flash flood warning ended at 8:15 a.m. Friday, according to the National Weather Service.
The Plymouth area received about 5 inches of rain, the weather service said, with 5.69 inches reported in Plymouth, 4.35 inches in Carver, and 4.20 inches in Duxbury.
At the Plymouth Airport, 5.32 inches fell in just six hours, the weather service said.
Alan Dunham, a meteorologist with the weather service, said the storm was quick but heavy, dropping a large amount of water in a short period, faster than drainage systems could keep up with.
“When you’re picking up over 5 inches of rain in really only about four hours, you’re going to have flooding,” Dunham said.
Plymouth just happened to have the bad luck to see some of the storm’s heaviest precipitation, he said, as the system moved eastward from Bristol County, through Plymouth, then on to Cape Cod and out to sea.
“It was just the way the showers and thunderstorms lined up, the heaviest of which were over southeastern Massachusetts,” he said.
In Plymouth Harbor, an unoccupied boat sunk in its mooring early Friday, and several other vessels had to be pumped out, but there were no injuries reported, said Donald Gourley, an assistant harbor master for the town.
Gourley said the issues were “business as usual” for a storm in the coastal town.
The entry to the Plymouth District Court building flooded at one point, Plymouth police Captain Kevin Manuel said. Several coastal roads flooded, including Taylor Avenue and sections of Route 3A, as Friday morning’s high tide coincided with some of the heaviest rainfall, Manuel said.
Multiple homes in the town also required help from the Plymouth Fire Department to pump out their basements, Manuel said.
Sandwich Road and Sacrifice Rock Road, a private way not managed by the town, were partially washed out by the downpour, Manuel said, and multiple vehicles that attempted to cross deep puddles broke down and had to be towed.
Plymouth resident Caroline Rabold said she tried to go to a medical appointment Friday morning but turned back after speaking with a truck driver at Seton Highlands and Sacrifice Rock Road.
“He told me it was unwise to go down Sacrifice Rock Road because there was 2 feet of water and it looked like a muddy river,” Rabold said. “It would’ve been dangerous if my appointment was an emergency because Sacrifice Rock Road is the only way to get in and out of the ridge section of Pine Hills. There’s about a thousand homes up here and only one road in. I think it’s clearly a safety issue.”
Another Plymouth resident who declined to give her name said she had witnessed heavy rains in the town overnight.
“It’s been raining since 4 o’clock in the morning,” she said early Friday. “It stopped on and off and it’s not raining now, but it was torrential on and off. It would rain for half an hour, stop for 15 to 20 minutes or longer, and then start again.”
Another Plymouth resident said his drains had overflowed.
In Duxbury, the deluge meant a busy overnight for the Fire Department, which had a dozen calls between Thursday evening and early Friday morning, according to a Twitter post.
One Duxbury resident reported flooding in a home basement, and there was additional flooding along the Marshfield/Duxbury line off Canal Street, Duxbury fire Captain P.J. Hussey said.
The weather service cautioned that excessive runoff from the rain was expected to cause flooding of streams and small creeks, as well as roadways, underpasses, urban areas, and other drainage spots and low-lying areas.
“A Flash Flood Warning means that flooding is imminent or occurring,” the weather service said. “If you are in the warned area move to higher ground immediately. Residents living along streams and creeks should take immediate precautions to protect life and property.”
In Lawrence, firefighters Thursday had to rescue the occupants of two cars that became flooded as they attempted to drive through a low-lying area of Parker Street under a railroad overpass, Lawrence Fire Chief Brian Moriarty said.
“It was a quick, simple rescue. They just were stopped in the water,” Moriarty said. “They drove through puddles that were too deep for the car.”
There were also power outages in Lawrence overnight, the chief said, but service was quickly restored.
In New Hampshire, the weather service extended a flash flood warning for the communities of Plymouth, Canaan, and Dorchester that had been set for 11:30 p.m. Thursday until 5:30 a.m. Friday.
In Groton, N.H., the water level of the Cockermouth River rose from 4 feet at 8 p.m. Thursday to nearly 12 feet at 9:15 p.m.
Rain was heaviest in the western White Mountains, along the northwest side of Lake Winnipesaukee, said Derek Schroeter, a meteorologist with the weather service.
Flooding in New Hampshire was mostly concentrated in Grafton County, where it was reported in the communities of Ashland, Plymouth, Hebron, Groton, and Rumney, Schroeter said.
Significant flash floods hit New Hampshire between 8:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. Thursday, when 2 to 4 inches of rain fell on areas that had already received 1 to 2 inches earlier in the evening, Schroeter said.
Ashland had the highest rainfall total in the area, Schroeter said, with 6.69 inches of accumulation, while Plymouth had 4.78 inches reported and even Nashua, near the state’s southern border with Massachusetts, had 2.54 inches reported.
There were also heavy rains along Maine’s midcoast region, where Wiscasset recorded 2.29 inches of accumulation, Schroeter said. On Friday morning, the storms were moving on toward Downeast Maine, he said, though a front swinging through the area late Friday afternoon could bring less-significant showers and thunderstorms before the region dries out in time for Saturday.