LEOMINSTER, Mass. The Associated Press reports that Hurricane Lee is expected to hit New England this week, even though the area still has the effects of the days’ wild weather, which produced flooding, sinkholes, and a tornado.
The National Hurricane Center announced Wednesday that a hurricane watch extends from Stonington in Maine, to the U.S./Canadian border. Hurricane conditions, coastal flooding and heavy rain are all possible on Friday and Saturday.
Tropical storm watches are in effect for areas from Watch Hill, Rhode Island to Stonington Maine, including Block Island and Martha’s Vineyard. Cape Cod Bay, Nantucket and other areas are also under a storm surge warning due to the possibility of life-threatening floods on Friday or Saturday.
On Wednesday, communities in Massachusetts and Rhode Island were hit with severe thunderstorm warnings as well as heavy rainfall that caused sinkholes to open and caused flooding in several places.
Radar data and video footage from the National Weather Service, Boston indicated that it is likely a tornado caused damage to trees and powerlines in Rhode Island on Wednesday. Photos from Lincoln, Rhode Island showed that at least one roof was damaged, and the pressbox at the high-school stadium had been thrown into the bleachers.
Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee announced on Twitter that Rhode Island’s Emergency Operations Center was active and will be closely monitoring weather changes over the coming days.
McKee stated, “The most important thing that you can do now is to stay tuned for regular updates.”
Sean Pope, a resident of North Attleborough in Massachusetts that was severely flooded on Monday, watched the weather forecasts with anxiety. His swimming pool turned into a mud puddle and his basement was filled with three feet of water after heavy rain.
He said, “I’m waiting and hoping. I am watching the weather forecast. And looking out for spots that may be hot and wet. We have to check that the pumps work.
Massachusetts Governor. Maura Shealey declared a state-of-emergency following “catastrophic flooding” and damage to property in two counties. Matthew Belk of the National Weather Service, Boston said that the torrential rains in six hours earlier this week were a “200 year event”.
Healey stated that emergency management is monitoring the weather conditions and ready to provide assistance. She said that the state monitors the condition of the dams and urged the residents to stay away from the road when instructed.
Rain in Leominster created sinkholes, one of which was at a car dealership, where several vehicles were taken up. Rains in Providence, Rhode Island, flooded parking lots and portions of shopping malls. More than two dozen people trapped in their cars were rescued by firefighters using inflatable boats.
Leominster experienced rain again on Wednesday after a day of dry weather. Flash floods were reported in parts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. In Danbury, Connecticut earlier in the day there was heavy rain. Officials had to save several people trapped in vehicles in floodwaters.
The rain from Hurricane Lee did not contribute to flooding in the first part of this week. Forecasters say that the hurricane, which is moving north, could land in Nova Scotia or Canada as a possible tropical storm.
The ground has become saturated. “It can’t absorb anymore,” Leominster mayor Dean Mazzarella told a press conference on Wednesday.
Mazarella reported that up to 300 residents had been evacuated in the morning of Tuesday. The city hasn’t seen this much damage since 1936. The majority of buildings in downtown were flooded, and many collapsed.
Early estimates for city infrastructure projects range from 25 to 40 million dollars.
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