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Massachusetts homes collapse into sea as storm batters coast

March 09, 2013|By Marisa Gerber
  • A house on the Plum Island seacoast in Newbury, Mass., sits precariously over the churning surf, driven by winds from a slow-moving winter storm.
A house on the Plum Island seacoast in Newbury, Mass., sits precariously… (Jim Vaiknoras / Newburyport…)

A storm surge propelled by a late winter storm pummeled the Northeast, causing widespread coastal flooding and destroying or severely damaging at least a dozen homes in Massachusetts, officials said.

The building inspector from Newbury, about 40 miles northeast of Boston, spent Saturday surveying damage in the city's Plum Island neighborhood, where at least two homes battered by strong waves crumpled into the surf and others were threatened, Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency spokesman Peter Judge told the Los Angeles Times.

Officials planned to look closely at three or four homes Saturday, he said,  “with a strong possibility that they’ll be torn down.”

“They’re just not safe,” Judge said, adding that the loss of the homes didn’t come as a surprise.

“It was one of those not if, but when scenarios,” he said. “The waves, for a long time now, have been pretty much beating at the foundation and underpinnings."

There were no injuries reported. But the homes hadn’t been completely emptied, Judge said. One still had a piano inside when it collapsed.

“They were substantial homes,” he said. “We’re talking about expensive homes.”

Coastal communities throughout the Northeast were flooded by the storm surge.

“Just about every town from the New Hampshire border to Cape Cod had some level of damage,” he said. Other coastal towns, including Scituate, Marshfield and  Sandwich, got substantial flooding.

A map posted on the National Weather Service’s website Friday afternoon showed that the storm had dumped up to 2 feet of snow on parts of central Massachusetts. 

By Saturday, the worst of the storm had passed.  “Today I’m looking out the window and I can see the sun,” Judge said.


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