FROM THE TOWN ADMINISTRATOR’S DESK
By Gregory T Federspiel
March weather certainly came roaring in! With gusts reaching hurricane force, astrological high tides and seas with waves over 30 feet in height, our coastal community was hit with a major nor’easter last week and, as I write this another in the forecast. As noted by the Selectmen, our public safety teams, led by Police Chief Conley and Fire Chief Krammlinger, and DPW staff led by Foreman Shawn Johnson, served us all well as they responded to the many calls for assistance.
During the storm, power outages were the most wide spread impact. Fallen trees took down wires in many locations in town. Staff did a great job logging in all the cases and communicating to National Grid the needs. Residents should always call National Grid directly to report outages as well. The sooner you do the quicker National Grid puts the outage into their system to deploy resources.
Other damage occurred when large trees feel on two houses. While no one was permanently injured or worse, an individual was hurt as a tree came down through one of the houses. Again, public safety personnel were quickly on the scene to provide aid and assist the owners through a harrowing experience.
While high waters swirled around the Fire Station and Town Hall, the sandbags staff put into place prevented flooding of the buildings. And while the sewer plant had to deal with a large influx of salt water, Bob Willwerth and his crew have kept the plant operating smoothly despite the challenges.
Ocean Street was initially covered with some five feet of sand and rocks. It was mostly cleared on Saturday but high seas and high tides have pushed materials back onto the roadway repeatedly. A few new sink holes have formed but otherwise the roadway has held up remarkably well. Raymond Street was underwater during the high tides and also had sand and other debris coming washing in though no permanent damage was done. The same cannot be said for the sea wall and Boardman Avenue at Black Cove/Stinky Beach. A section of the wall was pushed over by the storm surge which also caused considerable road damage. Temporary repairs have been made and the road is now passable thanks to the quick assistance provide by LAD Construction.
Another surprise we are dealing with is the damage done to the Rotunda at Tuck’s Point. The roiling seas actually picked up the structure cracking the support stringers underneath, miss-aligning the piers which hold up the Rotunda and undermining the base under the granite walkway. It is not safe to be on the Rotunda so please stay off it. We are in the process of getting a game plan together to making the needed repairs to this beloved structure just a soon as possible. We may be asking for funds at the upcoming Town Meeting to help us pay for repairs. Of course, we will be pursuing disaster relief funds as well if and when they become available.
This latest storm put another exclamation point on our vulnerabilities to the forces mother nature can unleash. Efforts to identify our most at risk areas and developing strategies to mitigate storm induced impacts continue. A workshop for residents will be held at two different times to help develop these needed strategies. The workshops are scheduled for Saturday, March 24th and Tuesday, March 27th starting at 8:30AM and 6:00PM respectively, both at the Community Center. Light meals will start off each session! For more information please contact Mary Riley in the Conservation Commission Office.