Anyone who doubts or denies that climate change is a serious issue that needs to be addressed sooner rather than
later needs to look no further than Sunday’s biblical rainfall that dumped a whopping 8 inches of rain in Lynn and flooded streets and homes.
These rainfall events that were only supposed to happen every ‘100 years,’ are now occurring more frequently.
This was the second time that Lynn was smacked with a slow moving storm. Last year’s September 30 storm dumped over four inches on the city in less than an hour, overwhelming storm drains and low-lying areas.
The same people affected last year once again found themselves cleaning out basements, accessing damage and praying something is done to address the problem.
“Sunday’s historic and unpredicted rainfall-eight inches within two hours-had substantial impact across the City of Lynn,” said Mayor Thomas McGee. “My team and I have been in communication with Governor Charlie Baker and his administration, Congressman Seth Moulton, and the State Delegation regarding resources and assistance in the aftermath of this unprecedented storm.”
McGee said his Administration is exploring financial relief options through Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which requires significant damage thresholds to be met by public infrastructure, private businesses and private homeowners.
“We ask that business owners and residents take pictures and submit them along with a detailed inventory of material, structural, and revenue losses,” said the Mayor. “Please refer to the City of Lynn website http://www.ci.lynn.ma.us/ starting tomorrow through August 28, for specific submission information. The City will subsequently apply to FEMA for consideration to be declared a disaster area.”
McGee and the city have set up a Dumpster Day for residents to dispose of damaged bulky items from Sunday’s storm. Residents can dispose of these items on Saturday, August 18 at the Covanta Transfer Station, which is located at 247 Commercial Street, directly across the street from the Lynn DPW from 8 a.m.-12 noon.
The City has also arranged with Waste Management for curbside pickup of damaged bulky items on their normally scheduled recycling day over the next two weeks from Monday, August 20, to Friday, August 31.
McGee said both options are free of charge for residents for the designated dates only. Acceptable items include furniture, mattresses, carpeting rolled in bundles not exceeding four-feet in length, and water damaged household goods in plastic trash bags.
However, refrigerators, computers, freezers, washers, dryers, dishwashers, stoves, water heaters, boilers, air conditioners and dehumidifiers will not be accepted nor will construction and demolition debris, including sheetrock, lumber, doors and windows, hazardous waste, paint and solvents.
“As we continue to experience increasing amounts of intense storms due to global warming, like the one Sunday, it is imperative that we take proactive steps to remediate their effects,” said McGee. “My administration applied for and has been awarded a grant by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs through the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Planning Grant Program.”
McGee said this process would target Lynn’s coastal resiliency plans and position the City to be eligible for future project implementation funding.
“Lynn Water and Sewer is in the design phase of their combined sewer overflows (CSO) project and expect work to begin next year,” he said. “Finally, we are looking into conducting a city-wide flood-risk management assessment and develop investment strategies to prevent this from happening in the future.”
At Large City Councilor Brian LaPierre said he has been proud to see city officials, residents and neighbors working together to help one another clean up after the storm.
“Once again, Lynn and its residents have shown me that in the most trying times of adversity, Lynners rise to the occasion,” said LaPierre. “This has never been more true than how folks handled the record amount of rainfall during Sunday mornings storm event. I think what impressed me most are how emergency personnel including but not limited to police, fire, EMT responders, DPW, Lynn Water and Sewer personnel handled and helped residents across the city deal with this catastrophic flooding disaster. Neighbors came out to assist other neighbors and elected officials from all levels of government did whatever they could to offer some small relief to those suffering the most.”
LaPierre added that in the days ahead city officials are going to have to collectively put their heads together and work as a team to ensure that flood prone areas are addressed.
“We must ensure we learn from this experience and find ways to remedy our aging infrastructure, make improvements to our drain system, when applicable and invest in the areas that are most impacted from the downtown to West Lynn, from Meadow Court to the Lynnway,” said LaPierre. “We need to review current procedures and continue to find ways to communicate effectively in times of high alert. I applaud this past operation for so many reasons and look now to how we best serve residents in the aftermath of such a horrific span of a few hours in time.”
At-Large City Councilor Brian Field said the damage from Sunday’s storm was widespread but the places that flooded were a bit of a surprise.
“The flooding and damage done by Sunday’s storm is widespread and it was not only the areas that have been prone to flooding in the past,” said Field. “Every area and neighborhood in the city had some damage. Some had entire yards were washed away because retaining walls in their yard failed or collapsed.”
Field added that he hopes the state and federal government recognizes the hardship of residents here, many of whom were just getting back on their feet after last year’s flood event.
“I am hoping the state and federal government recognize this hardship and the health effects associated with this matter,” said Field. “That is short term. Long term, however, I hope to have the studies completed and a long term solution for the areas in downtown and West Lynn areas that are constantly dealing with flooding.”