Flood 2010: Act II?

Message from Cynthia Oldfield of Brad Jones’ office:
As you know, the forecast for the next few days calls for 3-6 inches of rain throughout the Commonwealth, with localized higher amounts possible. With many rivers still in minor flood stages from the previous two rain storms, and the ground so thoroughly saturated, it is certain that street flooding and minor to moderate flooding of rivers and streams will occur. Today, the Governor reminded the public about precautions it should take, and updated people on the state’s efforts to prepare and assist local communities with response needs. Both updates are detailed below.

Message to Citizens

* People need to monitor the forecast. In many areas, it will make a big difference whether we get 2″ to 3″ of rain, in which case there may be widespread minor flooding like we saw during the second rain storm last week (March 25). But, if we get as much as 5″ or 6″ in some places, there may be widespread moderate and even major flooding, similar to the first rain storm (March 12-15).

* People who had water in their homes in the last few weeks should plan for more water in their homes. Now is the time to check sump pumps, to move things that may be damaged or destroyed by rising water, to place sandbags if necessary. And, people should have a plan if they experience power outages and their sump pumps won’t work.

* People who had to evacuate their homes in the past two weeks should have plans to evacuate again. This means having a plan to leave before the waters rise to a dangerous level, and knowing what they will take and where they will go.

* Finally, people who live or work in areas where roads were impassable over the past few weeks because of high water should plan for that to happen again.

* Do not get caught unprepared. People who need supplies should get them now, before the storm hits. If you don’t have an emergency kit at home, please purchase flashlights, batteries, food, water, medicines, and other basic supplies.

* Please remember to use extreme caution around rising rivers and in flooded areas. Currents can be deceptively fast and dangerous and this is not a time to be canoeing or kayaking in our rivers. The waters are dangerous. People should pay particular attention to children – fascination may draw them towards dangerous waters.

* Pay close attention to downed power lines, particularly around water.

* As with any rainstorm when rain is falling fast in great quantity, drivers are encouraged to drive carefully and drive safe. Be aware that the commute may take a little longer than usual.

* Additional flood safety tips can be found on MEMA’s website http:www.mass.gov/mema

* Please call 211 with questions or non-emergency concerns. For emergencies, please dial 911.

State Preparation Efforts

* The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is fully activated. MEMA runs the state’s emergency operations center and provides a single point of contact for municipalities to request assistance from the state.
* MEMA is conducting a statewide conference call for local emergency management directors at 5 pm, Sunday March 28 to discuss local concerns, anticipate possible trouble spots, and survey likely requests for assistance if flooding occurs in these trouble spots.
* Mass 211 is operational for citizens to call with questions and NON-emergency concerns. For emergency calls, please dial 911.

Please remember- requests for state assistance should come to MEMA from the local emergency management director. Thank you.

* Mass National Guard is on alert. Mass National Guard equipment, such as a sandbagging machine, is being activated and redeployed to a more central location to assist communities with their needs.
* Department of Fire Services is activating fire mobilization plans to facilitate mutual aid from departments of less affected communities to communities struggling with water and flood impacts.
* MassDOT crews have cleared the trouble spots created by the last storm and will monitor the storm and its impact on area roadways beginning early tomorrow morning. Equipment is on stand-by and ready to be deployed to any trouble spots that may occur.
* In preparation for the forecasted rain, General Manager Davey spoke Sunday morning with top managers of the T’s subway, bus, and commuter rail systems. They are finalizing specific plans and operating procedures that include ‘observation trains’ that will run overnight to monitor the rails and stations for any flooding issues (potential or otherwise).
* Commuter Rail crews will be equipped with chain saws, fuel and standard storm fighting equipment. Generators are dispersed at various locations throughout the system in case of power outages.
* MBTA and MBCR crews are prepared for pumping at susceptible locations such as the Red Line in Dorchester, Quincy, and Braintree as well as Natick Station and low-lying spots along the Fairmount Line and the Fitchburg Line. Backup pumps and generators will be available at key locations to be utilized as needed.
* The MBTA will specifically monitor two areas that received much attention during the last major rain event:

-A new drainage system and retaining wall are in place where the
track bed beneath the Green Line in Newton was washed out two weeks
ago.

-In Braintree, where flood waters washed out the rail bed beneath the
Middleboro Line, an erosion resistant berm was built adjacent to the
tracks to prevent washouts from happening in the future.

· During the storm, the MBTA and MBCR will have additional personnel on duty and additional support will be assigned based on weather conditions and the updated forecast.

· High water areas and culverts will be checked throughout the storm as well as major rivers and streams, including the Muddy River which flows near the Green Line tunnel’s Fenway portal.

· If service is impacted in any fashion, customers will be notified immediately via mbta.com and the T Alerts system.

* Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) has begun pumping operations to lower the water levels of the Charles River and the Mystic River to increase capacity of these waterways to absorb the rain water.
* DCR has also begun removing stop blocks on key dams such as the Moody Street Dam in Waltham and the Forge Pond Dam in Freetown to increase the passage of water and reduce the likelihood of spill over and flooding from these dams.
* DCR personnel and consultants are monitoring high hazard dams across the state.
* DCR teams are also monitoring flood-prone roadways under its control and are ready to act quickly if the need arises to close these roads immediately to protect public safety.
* DCR Fire control unit is standing by to assist MEMA with requests for local water pumping assistance.

Cynthia E. Oldfield

Director of Local Affairs

Office of the House Minority Leader

Representative Bradley H. Jones, Jr.

State House, Room 124

Boston, MA 02133

T: (617) 722-2100

F: (617) 722-2390

cynthia.oldfield@hou.state.ma.us

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