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Southern New England Prepares for Potential Flooding

A combination of rain, melting snow, and mild temperatures could create a mess for parts of New England starting Friday morning.

The National Weather Service has issued a Flood Watch from Friday morning through Saturday afternoon for all of southern New England.

During this time, heavy rain is expected to overspread the region Friday afternoon and evening — continuing at times into Saturday morning. The rain, combined with rapid snow melt, will result in the possibility of some river and stream flooding along with the potential for isolated ice jam flooding, according to the National Weather Service.

There is also concern that the heavy rainfall combined with snow-clogged storm drains may cause significant street flooding which could impact the Friday evening commute.

"I think we are in really good shape," Michael Maresco, the town administrator in Marshfield, Massachusetts, said Thursday night. "DPW has been out for the last 48 hours clearing all the catch-basins once the temperatures got warmer, they were able to go out and push back all the snow."

Roofing companies like Newton Roofing Residential, are warning residents of the potential of ice dams during the melting period because the dams can trap water in roofs and force it into homes.

"It ranges completely from just a minor stain in the ceiling that needs to be painted, right down to tear down drywall and ceilings," said Richard Melo, of Newton Roofing Residential. "You're basically submerging that roof system underwater."

The potential for flooding has some residents like Kerry Crowley of Somerville, already making preparations.

"We're brainstorming. We’ve been trying to cover up as much as we can, get everything out of the basement so, in the event of flooding, nothing gets ruined," Crowley said.

On Wednesday, the Boston Water and Sewer Commission (BWSC) was already making preparations by having crews clear hydrants and storm drains to prevent flooding. Public works officials statewide are asking residents to give them a hand with the hydrant and storm drain clearing.

Some crews are asking residents for their help cleaning the storm drains.

With 4,000 storm drains in Billerica and many of them still covered, Highway Superintendent Ed Tierney says it would take all hands on deck for a week working all day to get them all uncovered.

"There’s so many," said Tierney. "We have to use front-end loaders to get some of them because the snowbanks are so high on some of the corners, and you get a quick thaw and rain and it’s just impossible to keep up with."

Tierney also says said if you can’t clear a drain off yourself, but know your storm drain is covered and could cause some issues, call the highway department to come get it cleared off. 

Some communities that were rocked by flooding are bracing for another round.

In Revere, Saber Abougalala wishes he could wake up from last week’s blizzard after flooding wreaked havoc on Pearl Avenue, destroying three of his cars and almost everything in his basement, leaving him with a nightmare of a cleanup.

"I'm scared to be here anymore," he said. "I'm right on the ocean, I used to like the view now all my family is depressed. I'm depressed, I can’t even sleep."

Fearful of what’s to come after replacing water pumps and a new heating system, Abougalala realized heavy rain is in the forecast. Mixing that with piles of snow could mean more flooding, more damage and more headaches."

"There’s still water, I have to clean my basement," he said. "I don’t want to get more problems. I want to be able to move around to get the sunk pump working. I can't even go to my work. I can't even take care of my business. 

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