Gloucester goes under due to “Bomb Cyclone”

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Gloucester High's New Balance Newell Stadium was flooded as a result of Thursday's storm

Gloucester High's New Balance Newell Stadium was flooded as a result of Thursday's storm

Michael F Lattof Jr

Michael F Lattof Jr

Gloucester High's New Balance Newell Stadium was flooded as a result of Thursday's storm

MARIA KOTOB and CAROLINE ENOS

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The flooding in GHS's parking lot Thursday afternoon. Many pictures of the storm's damages have been shared hundreds of times on Facebook

Welcome to New England, where the blizzard crashing through the northeast, known as the “Bomb Cyclone,” has hit hundreds of cities and towns, including Gloucester. As snow accumulates across the country, ocean water has now flooded streets up and down the north and south shore, making its way into several people’s homes who reside by the water.

With houses currently being flooded– and a man rescued from his Western Ave home due to the rising water level– Gloucester High School is experiencing problems of its own. One of the school’s parking lots has become its own body of water. Because of this, citizens who parked their cars there as a result of the city’s parking ban now have to worry about their submerged vehicles.

In addition to this parking lot mayhem, the school’s newly built New Balance Newell Stadium is experiencing more than its usual rainy day puddles. With water just missing the seats in the stands, it appears that no one will be running on the field for a while.

“Right now there’s no reason to think we won’t be able to have school on Monday,” said GHS Principal James Cook. “Nevertheless, I plan to get over to the school to reassess the situation tomorrow morning.”

GHS football coach Mike Lattof Jr. believes the flooding will also damage some of the school’s sporting equipment.

“Besides the field, we had all of our football equipment– bags, prowler, sleds, etc– under the bleachers,” said Lattof. “It could be a huge loss.”

Although Bernica Wilcox, a sophomore at GHS, has floods surrounding her so far undamaged house, she is more concerned about the situation at GHS.

“I’m mostly worried about the field and the damage to the cars and the school,” said Wilcox.

According to Cook, the school itself has experienced no damage, unlike its surrounding area.

“The good news is there is no sea water in the school,” said Cook. “However, we’ll keep an eye on the student parking lot to make sure it’s as ready as possible for use, especially because of the amount of water there and the dip in temperatures we’re expecting. GHS Head custodian John Christopher is keeping an eye on things for all of us.”

Jessyca Muniz, a senior at GHS, resides along the Blynman Canal and experienced severe flooding within her home and neighborhood.  

I was napping when my brother came in and screamed ‘We’re going under!’ and I just brushed it off. Then I looked outside my back window to see that my backyard looks like a swimming pool,” said Muniz.

“I hear my mom screaming from our basement as she’s trying to grab boxes because the water is flooding in by the minute,” continued Muniz. “We called the fire department, but they had so many other calls they couldn’t help us right away.”

“My house was surrounded by water so the only way to get out was to swim through it to our upstairs neighbors. We stayed there until the tide went down and most of the water cleared,” said Muniz. “We realized we had to get out before it was dark and freezing. I had to take my dog through the snow and water to get to the car, where I went to my dad’s house and my mom and brother stayed at her friend’s. There is no water or heat in my house and the pipes are done for.”

Many parts of Gloucester have been without power for most of the day, including Lanesville and the Long Beach area.

High tide began at 12:37 p.m. today, which, because of the storm, caused the extreme flooding. As the storm continues through the night, another high tide is expected to come at 1:18 a.m.but is projected to be less extreme.

Many have compared Thursday’s flood conditions to the extreme tides seen in the “Blizzard of 78’.”

Woodman’s of Essex, which is located in the middle of Essex’s salt water marshes, is half-submerged in ocean water as a result of Thursday’s storm.

“Woodman’s survived the Blizzard of ‘78 and will survive the Blizzard of 2018,” the business wrote on its Facebook page. “At [about 2pm Thursday] we tied the record tide of 15′-1″ from the Blizzard of ‘78. It’s bad folks. Please stay safe and check back for updates.”

Temperatures are expected to drop over the weekend with a high of 6 degrees on Saturday. The remaining snow will likely ice over and Gloucester harbor will continue to freeze.

Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken released a public emergency alert statement that was updated at 5:00 p.m. Thursday. Below are the current bans, school cancellations, and tips if you have suffered due to the storm from the mayor’s Facebook page.

Snow Emergency/Parking Ban EXTENDED until 12 Noon Fri. 1/5/2018

Schools Closed Friday 1/5/2017

PARKING BAN / FLOODING AWARENESS

Extreme flooding has been reported across the city with certain roads closed for public safety. We strongly recommend that all citizens shelter at home and avoid all travel outside at this time. Road conditions remain unsafe and emergency teams need all streets clear to allow effective service. Gloucester continues to enforce an emergency parking ban across all city streets until 12 Noon Friday, January 5th. This parking ban means all vehicles are banned from parking on city streets. Residents may park in all municipal and school parking lots, but please be aware that some locations have experienced heavy flooding. Please use caution and call 911 for any emergencies.

EMERGENCY SHELTERS / ADDITIONAL ASSISTANCE

Emergency shelters and flooding assistance provisions are being prepared for parties in critical need. If your home is being flooded or if you are in danger, CALL 911 FOR IMMEDIATE ASSISTANCE or call Gloucester Police Department at (978) 283-1212. Do not wait for conditions to improve as this storm is expected to continue throughout the night. Please note the following social services in the City will be open this weekend during the storm and frigid cold.

Thursday: Action Inc. will be open all day and night (978) 282-1000)
Friday: Grace Center of Gloucester (and Action/Hotels at night)
Saturday: Action Inc will be open all day and night
Sunday: Grace Center @ The Open Door* (and Action/Hotels at night)
In the event that you lose power or heat over the weekend, the City encourages residents to shelter in place, stay with a family/neighbor who has heat and contact the Gloucester Police Department immediately for any concerns about staying safe or warm. The police can assist you in finding a place to go with power and will be working with American Red Cross of Massachusetts to assist residents in need.

POWER OUTAGES

National Grid has been reporting power outages in different areas across the North Shore, including Gloucester. If any outages do occur in your area, it is imperative that they be reported via the National Grid Customer Service or Outage Reporting phone lines as listed below. Every outage phone call that we receive is logged into our outage tracking system and better enables us to pinpoint the location of the issue. The sooner National Grid can identify the location of the issue, the quicker a response can be sent.

The Customer Service Line is: 1-800-322-3223
The Outage Reporting Line is: 1-800-465-1212
All trash and recycling must be out by 7 AM. The DPW and affiliated collection vendors WILL NOT go back for any late collections or snow-covered stops. Please be prepared but call the DPW for any information or updates at 978-281-9785

REMINDERS/ SAFETY INFORMATION

All residents and businesses are reminded that they are responsible for clearing snow from sidewalks adjacent to their property.
Please make every effort to shovel out hydrants at or near your homes, and please check on your elderly and disabled.
Your cooperation during this snow emergency/parking ban is necessary for efficient and safe snow removal efforts, but please use the following links from state agencies for more insights:
Safety and preparedness tips for extreme cold: http://www.mass.gov/…/service-deta…/extreme-cold-safety-tips
Winter storm preparedness and safety information: http://www.mass.gov/…/service-deta…/winter-storm-safety-tips
Power outage preparedness and safety information: http://www.mass.gov/…/service-deta…/power-outage-safety-tips
Flood safety tips: http://www.mass.gov/index…/service-details/flood-safety-tips
Winter safety tips for pets: https://www.mass.gov/service-details/winter-pet-safety-tips
Updates will be forthcoming as the storm progresses. Please check the City of Gloucester website and social media for further updates at www.gloucester-ma.gov. Thank you for your assistance and stay safe during this snow emergency.

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4 Comments

4 Responses to “Gloucester goes under due to “Bomb Cyclone””

  1. Mr. James Cook on January 4th, 2018 9:21 pm

    Maria and Caroline,
    Thank you for this report. My thoughts are with everyone experiencing loss as a result of this storm.
    Sincerely,
    Mr. James Cook

    [Reply]

  2. Valerie Gilman on January 5th, 2018 12:15 am

    GHS students,
    Thank you for writing this article in the Gillnetter. As a member of the City Council, please know that we will work closely with the Superintendent, School Committee and Mayor to get things back in order for all of you after this devastating storm.

    Your reporting is passionate and timely. Thank you.

    Val Gilman
    Ward 4 City Councilor

    [Reply]

  3. Jen Holmgren on January 5th, 2018 12:24 pm

    Maria and Caroline, thank you for your excellent coverage of this terrible storm and its aftereffects. The Gillnetter’s efforts to help keep the public informed are appreciated by all of us!

    Jen Holmgren, Councilor-at-Large

    [Reply]

  4. John Vitti on January 5th, 2018 4:49 pm

    Excellent reporting all around! We had no idea of exactly what you all were going through until reading this. I look forward to reading follow-ups, but please stay safe!

    [Reply]

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Gloucester goes under due to “Bomb Cyclone”