City Plans for Potential Outfalls if Hurricane, Ultra-high Tides Hit Simultaneously

August 25, 2011
By

Special Online Report

A combination of ultra-high tides and a potential Category 2 hurricane headed to Boston Harbor, both on Sunday, have Revere officials contemplating and planning today.

With Mayor Tom Ambrosino on vacation this week, Interim Mayor John Powers – who is quite an authority on flooding in his Ward 5 area – has unexpectedly inherited the job of coordinating the disaster contingency plan.

From City Hall on Thursday morning, Powers said that a group of officials – including Fire Chief Gene Doherty, Police Chief Terence Reardon, DPW Superintendent Don Goodwin and members of the Water & Sewer Department – will conduct a meeting at 9 a.m. Friday to discuss all the potential problems that could be heading to Revere.

First and foremost on that list of problems is localized flooding.

With a good part of Revere under sea level, historically flood-prone areas could be inundated if the hurricane conditions pan out and they hit the City during one of the large high tides.

“They’re talking about 11-foot high tides this weekend and if there’s a storm surge from this storm during those tides, there could be a strong potential for problems,” said Powers. “We may have to use the high school for evacuations. It’s all uncertain now, but there’s always that potential when you have a major storm coming up the coast.

“We’re all hoping this storm passes with minor, if any, damage or flooding in Revere,” he continued. “If that doesn’t occur, we want to be ready.”

High tides on Sunday are to be 10.2 and 11.3 ft. respectively.

As it is now, Chief Doherty has commandeered the Pines Fire Station for a safe haven if coastal evacuations occur, and he’s stationed a fire truck down in the Pines and Oak Island for quicker responses if need be.

DPW Superintendent Don Goodwin has had crews positioning equipment throughout the flood-prone areas of Revere, and they have also done yeoman’s work in checking the City’s numerous tidegates – conducting minor repairs and maintenance where necessary.

So far, it appears that the Pines, Oak Island, Beachmont, lower areas in Ward 2 and some areas of Ward 6 are on the top of the City’s watch list. Those are areas that have experienced horrific flooding in the past.

However, there has also been millions of dollars spent in trying to remedy those problems, and Powers said that it might be a good test this time for those projects.

“On several streets in Oak Island, there’s been a lot of money spent down there to correct flooding and drainage and this will be a good test to see if that money does what it’s intended to do,” said Powers. “Also on the Boulevard, the DCR did a lot of drainage work there. This will be a good test for that system as well.”

Fire Chief Doherty is also at the ready with the Revere 9-1-1 system, saying he will send out a message citywide if there is a need to take severe action.

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