AMU Emergency Management Public Safety

Winter Storms and Rising Icy Waters in New England Generate Flood Concerns

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By David E. Hubler
Contributor, EDM Digest

For New Englanders, the New Year started with a nor’easter storm and a “bomb cyclone.” This major snowstorm also brought record flooding to Boston Harbor and the Massachusetts coast.

“Ocean water carried ice floes and dumpsters through the streets of Boston and trapped hundreds of people in homes and offices,” Slate magazine reported.

New Englanders are hoping they won’t experience a repeat performance of the flooding as they eye new weather reports.

NWS Issues Flood Warning for Connecticut River

The National Weather Service issued a flood warning on Sunday because of the potential for ice jams on the Connecticut River, MSN reported.

By Sunday night, the river surpassed flood stage in the Hartford, Connecticut, area. Ice jams on the Housatonic River triggered flooding in Litchfield County and prompted the closure of some roads over the holiday weekend.

Additional flood warnings were issued on Tuesday for Middlesex, Litchfield and New London counties, according to the Hartford Courant. The Pawcatuck River in neighboring Westerly, Rhode Island, reached a seven-foot flood stage at 9 a.m. Weather forecasters predicted that the floodwaters could affect low-lying homes.

Icy waters can be especially dangerous for animals and humans. The low temperature of the water causes hypothermia, which can lead to death.

Coast Guard Calls Off Searches for Missing Kayaker and Clammer

On Saturday, the Coast Guard called off its search for a missing kayaker on the Providence River in Rhode Island. Michael Perry of Warwick was reported missing on Friday evening.

One week earlier, the Coast Guard suspended its search for Paul Benner, who did not return home from a day of clamming on Clark Island, near Long Cove, Maine, on January 4. Benner was reported to be in a 16-foot skiff that matched the description of an unmanned skiff found near Long Cove that evening.

The Coast Guard opened the ice-breaking season in mid-December. It planned for a cold winter that was expected to affect “every port, waterway, and harbor in the Northeast,” the Maine-based Rocky Coast News said.

“Operation Reliable Energy for Northeast Winters (RENEW) is the Coast Guard’s region-wide effort to ensure Northeast communities have the security, supplies, energy, and emergency resources they need throughout the winter,” the online Rocky Coast News reported.

Coast Guard cutters are conducting ice-breaking operations to ease flooding conditions. They will open river lanes and supply communities with needed petroleum, propane gas, food and medical supplies.

The Northeast is particularly dependent upon fuel supplies via water transportation. The Northeast consumes 85 percent of the heating oil used in the country and 90 percent of that is delivered by barge.

David E. Hubler brings a variety of government, journalism and teaching experience to his position as a Quality Assurance Editor. David’s professional background includes serving as a senior editor at CIA and the Voice of America. He has also been a managing editor for several business-to-business and business-to-government publishing companies.

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