Date: 2021-09-02 10:42:23
Even as a bright sun shone and residents swept up debris and pumped out basements, flood warnings remained in effect Thursday afternoon for a number of rivers in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.
Forecasters said that rivers continued to rise and some were spilling over their banks. In some areas, the forecasters said, pockets of urban and poor drainage flooding might also take time to fully recede.
“Some area rivers and streams are still rising, and as a result pockets of minor river flooding are likely during this afternoon,” forecasters said, warning that “most flood deaths occur in vehicles.”
The danger was highlighted by the death of a Connecticut state police sergeant who was swept away in rising water in the town of Woodbury around 3:30 a.m. The 26-year veteran was one of at least 28 people who were killed late Wednesday and early Thursday in the record-setting downpour that affected not just Southern New England but much of the East Coast.
Flooding caused problems for Amtrak and Keolis Commuter Services, the operator of the MBTA’s commuter rail system, and the T’s Orange Line – all of which canceled or rerouted service due to flooded tracks.
Service on the Orange Line between Jackson Square and Ruggles was suspended due to track flooding, and riders were advised to take the bus. But the T announced late Thursday afternoon service had been restored.
For Keolis, the Needham line seemed to have been affected the most.
⚠️ All Needham trains only operate between Needham Heights and Forest Hills until further notice due to track flooding. A shuttle bus accommodates passengers between Forest Hills and Ruggles for an Orange Line connection.
— MBTA Commuter Rail (@MBTA_CR) September 2, 2021
The best resources for up-to-date information, T officials said, continued to be mbta.com’s Alerts section, as well as the agency’s Twitter feed @MBTA.
Amtrak, around 11 a.m. Thursday, canceled Boston to Washington service for the whole day.
SERVICE ALERT UPDATE: All service between Washington (WAS) and Boston (BOS) has been canceled for the remainder of the day. We apologize for the inconvenience.
— Amtrak Northeast (@AmtrakNECAlerts) September 2, 2021
The rain led to periodic closures on Route 24 in Fall River, the Massachusetts Turnpike in Boston, the harbor tunnels, and the Southeast Expressway, along with multiple locations in and around Worcester, transportation officials said.
“They are too numerous to count, partial lane closures,’’ said Jonathan Gulliver, MassDOT administrator. “They are all over the place.”
Gulliver said MassDOT crews rescued a small number of drivers who had chosen to drive into standing water in underpasses in Worcester and Fall River. No injuries were reported to MassDOT crews or the drivers.
At times during the storm, power was knocked out to thousands of electric customers, according to the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.
According to the weather service, while Ida was no longer the hurricane that pounded the Gulf Coast, it was still an extraordinary source of rain, with many communities reporting more than 5 inches between Wednesday night and Thursday morning.
More than a dozen communities in the region got more than 7 inches of rain. New Bedford was one of the leaders, reporting 9.5 inches, just behind two University of Rhode Island recording stations that got 9.55 and 9.83 inches, the weather service said.
New Bedford experienced flooding in four areas: Nauset Street, Fuller Parkway, Chaffee Street, and the intersection of Brownell Avenue and Hawthorn Street. Downed trees were being removed near the intersections of Montrose Street and Acushnet Avenue, Maywood Street and Irvington Street, and other locations.
The city closed all city beaches until the water quality improves. “The water at all New Bedford beaches will be tested daily until acceptable water quality levels are obtained and swimming can resume at all sections,’’ the city said.
Things were also tense in Dartmouth, where fire crews were working Thursday to clear roadways and yards of tree limbs felled by strong winds. No one was hurt, but at one point a tree barely missed a woman’s car as it came crashing down amid the storm, officials said.
”We got pretty lucky,” said Tim Andre, chief of Dartmouth fire’s second district.
In Dennis, where the twister touched down, crews worked to clean up fallen trees and branches that were scattered across local roadways.
“We had some pretty heavy winds on the north side of Dennis,” said Christopher Boutin, a Dennis fire lieutenant. “It took down some trees in residential areas.”
Falmouth residents were asked to stay home Thursday morning after heavy rains rendered a number of local roadways impassable.
What began overnight as shallow pools of water quickly grew larger at around 6 a.m. when a heavy band of rain hit the Cape.
“We’re asking people to stay off the roads, if they can,” said Falmouth Fire Deputy Chief Scott Thrasher. “I know school was delayed an hour. You just have to give the drainage system a chance to catch up again.”
Fire crews evacuated rooms on a low-lying floor of the Admiralty Inn and Suites on Teaticket highway after water began pouring in through the windows.
In Wareham, a beachside road took on so much rainfall, a 12-foot chunk of the pavement collapsed, leaving behind a gaping hole.
Runoff had streamed down from a nearby hill and eroded the sand underneath the road, said Assistant Fire Chief John Kelley. The hole was around 10 feet deep.
“We were inundated with so much water. … It just came right down and washed the road completely away,” he said.
Maintenance crews worked through the afternoon to fill the hole, and the road has since reopened.
Fire crews in Mattapoisett were pumping water out of the basements of numerous homes.
In one home, the basement was filled with seven feet of flood water, Mattapoisett Fire Chief Andrew Murray said.
In Waltham, school buses were partly submerged at a local bus yard, and the police department, which posted a photo of the waterlogged vehicles, warned of delays for youngsters.
“There may be a delay with some school busses today,” police wrote on their official Facebook page above a striking photo of the flooded bus yard. “Please be patient. (This is an actual photo of the Waltham busses).”
Dozens of people posted shocked responses to the news, including one woman who wrote, “Omg, what a mess!”
Another resident commended bus drivers for soldiering on during the challenging conditions.
“Thank you to the Waltham bus drivers, both of my kids were picked up safely this morning, and on time,” she wrote.
Waltham School Superintendent Brian Reagan said via e-mail that no one was hurt in the bus flooding.
“There were 6 buses that were unusable this morning,” Reagan wrote. “We were able to get the other buses in the fleet up and running and our vendor brought in additional buses from another location to help minimize delays this morning. Afternoon transportation will return to normal.”
In Portsmouth, Rhode Island, the pavement on Fairview Lane had crumbled Thursday morning and a car was photographed hanging perilously over the edge of the partial crater, according to a report from WPRI-TV.
Portsmouth Fire Captain Mark Reimels told the Globe via phone that he wasn’t aware of any injuries from that incident, adding that Fairview wasn’t the only street dealing with storm damage. “That’s obviously one of the worst-hit spots in town,” Reimels said.
Sunny skies returned in many areas by midmorning Thursday and a generally nice holiday weekend is expected, although showers are possible on Sunday.
“High pressure builds in behind the remnants of Ida on Friday bringing sunny skies and early fall like conditions to southern New England,’’ forecasters wrote. “Afternoon high temperatures likely to top out in the mid to upper 70s” on Friday and Saturday.
Material from Globe wire services was used in this report.
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