GHS field and parking lot flood again, new roof leaking


Elizabeth Schuster

New Balance Newell Stadium and the student parking lot flooded during Friday’s high tide at 11:15

CAROLINE ENOS, Staff Writer, Editor

Gloucester High’s New Balance Newell Stadium and student parking lot is experiencing severe flooding for the second time in two months. Before January’s “Bomb Cyclone,” the field hadn’t flooded in decades.

The first waves of water spilled over the Blynman Canal wall about an hour before this morning’s 11:15 high tide. Students who drove to school had to park at Stage Fort Park and were shuttled back and forth by bus. The blocked off student parking lot next to the field was empty when sea water began to cover it.

No water has reached the building, and no cars were damaged on school property.

“The flood has not touched the school, nor did it in January. If it does, there’s not much we can do- you can’t stop a flood,” said GHS Head Custodian John Christopher. “But we are high enough so that even if it reaches the school building, it would have to come up stairs. It’s not like it’s going to get into your classrooms, so you just have to wait and see.”

Parts of the building experienced leaks from the roof, outside doors, or windows amid Friday’s strong winds and rainfall.

Dozens of buckets were sitting in the library by the end of the day to catch leaking water, especially under parts of the ceiling where there is a seam in the roof above it. According to GHS Librarian Teacher Samantha Texieria, there have been minor leaks in the library since the school’s roof was replaced last summer.

“This is the worst leak this year by far,” said Texieria.

The electrical shop also had leaks coming down from the newly replaced roof. None of the leaks were near electrical equipment.

The bottom floor of the science wing saw minor flooding next to one of the outside doors, and some water was coming in from windows in the special needs classroom. Other than these areas, the rest of GHS stayed dry.

Many students stayed home from school today, and many more were dismissed by parents throughout the day due to flooding concerns in other parts of the city.

Some students were frustrated by having to come to school today when other communities- like Manchester and Rockport- cancelled school.

“It’s not concerning that the school is near the flooding,” said senior Karlee Hynes. “The water didn’t get into the school last time, and its probably not going to this time. But it’s ridiculous to me that we’re expected to still come to school when, at this point in the storm [Friday around noon], it’s unsafe to try to get home to places like Lanesville, West Gloucester, or even out of town.”

Hynes was also frustrated by students having to park at Stage Fort.

“What happens if you have to leave [school] early, like your parents call and want to get you dismissed and you’re a student who drove yourself to school? Now you have no way to get to your car or home. You could be a student who lives in Lanesville and you can’t get to your car. Then when you leave at the end of the day, you could have trouble getting home because of the floods.”

Saint Peter’s Square, the Causeway on Essex Ave, the Causeway in Essex, the Riverdale Mills, parts of Lanesville and Annisquam, and other parts of Cape Ann also saw severe flooding.

“We’ll have someone at GHS until ten tonight, then in the morning I’ll come in to babysit,” said Christopher. “We can call somebody if we need a pump, because as far as I can do, a mop and a vacuum is not going to cut it. I’m just here to watch and to call more help in if needed, like the big pumps at the fire department. But I don’t think we have to worry about any of that.”

What’s still to come

More coastal flooding is expected during tonight’s astronomically large high tide at 11:46 PM and tomorrow’s high tide at 12:05 PM.

“Power outages, road closures, and other emergency incidents are expected in the next 24 hours and we strongly recommend all citizens to prepare accordingly,” said Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken.

“Additionally, we caution all citizens who are in low lying areas that are prone to flooding to be aware and prepare accordingly,” continued Romeo Theken. “Any home or business that was previously affected by recent storms and flooding should especially take caution.”

The rain is expected to turn to snow tonight.

Precautionary measures should be taken immediately to best prepare, including voluntary evacuation prior to the storm. All residents should avoid these areas, as well as avoiding driving through any flooded areas,” continued the Mayor.

Parts of Downtown Gloucester were without power for a half an hour this evening, and other outages are expected throughout the weekend.

“Strong winds may cause power outages and we are asking citizens to shelter in place,” said the Mayor. “If your home is being flooded or if you are in danger, call 911 for immediate assistance. Emergency teams are prepared to assist anyone in need so call 911 right away.”

To see videos of Friday morning’s high tide as it brings water over the Blynman Canal, the damage around the field, and the flooded parking lot, go to our Facebook page and scroll through our posts