The combination snow-and-heavy-rain storm has coastal residents bracing for flooding and damage during high tides. Scituate, one of the worst-hit coastal communities in the early February storm, has closed schools today and opened an emergency shelter.
The National Guard is patrolling the area, and coastal roads are blocked off. Residents were strongly encouraged to evacuate before 4 a.m. Most have complied, according to Police Chief Brian Stewart. He says water has come over the sea wall and is up to two feet deep in some flooded streets. The emergency shelter expects many families tonight.
"High tide was just before 7 this morning, we had considerable flooding and overwash, in the north side, DPW working to clear them, Oceanside drive is still underwater in spots,” Stewart said. “It's going to be awhile."
"The shelter is open at Scituate High School,” Stewart said. “We encourage people to go over there. We're very concerned about the high tide tonight and tomorrow at 8 o'clock in the morning."
This morning's high tide left up to 2 feet of floodwater on coastal streets, many of which are still blocked off. The roads and parking lot surrounding the Scituate Lighthouse flooded just after 7 a.m.
There’s another high tide at 7 p.m., and coastal residents urged to go to the shelter at the high school as soon as possible, or 3 hours in advance of the high tide.
Severe beach erosion is expected through Friday.
There’s also major concern about Friday's 8 a.m. high tide, which could be a foot higher than this morning's, and waves are expected to be 5 to 10 feet higher offshore.
The coast will see sustained winds between 35 and 40 miles per hour, with gusts up to 50 through Friday afternoon.
School was closed in Scituate today, no word on tomorrow.
Resident Jane Stebbins said the town is praying they don't lose power again. Flooding aside, there have been many problems with cold and burst pipes in these storms. She’s getting ready to volunteer at the shelter and play cards with friends who live near the Scituate Lighthouse.
“We did lose power the last big storm and it was freezing cold,” Stebbins said. “It's disheartening. It’s a beautiful spot to live but I think you pay the price for being on the water.”