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Flooding Victims Mark First Anniversary Of Storms

By Joe Joyce, WBZ Meteorologist
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A submerged car sits on Dickinson Road March 31, 2010 in Fall River. (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

A submerged car sits on Dickinson Road March 31, 2010 in Fall River. (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

BOSTON (CBS) — “It’s been a long 12 months.” That’s how Scott Hutchins of Freetown feels.

One year later, hundreds of homeowners like Hutchins are still recovering from the record rains and floods of March 2010. Last March, the lake he has used in the summer for boating recreation was suddenly flowing through his house. He has since spent the past year gutting his home, tearing it down, now rebuilding on the same site, just three feet higher.

WBZ-TV Meteorologist Joe Joyce reports

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There was no snow on the ground at the time. The problem was the sheer volume of rain that occurred.

2010 was a warm El Nino year which created a moisture loaded jet stream. Upper level winds tapped into the tropical air. Rising high pressure over Greenland created a blocking pattern which slowed and directed this moist feed into New England as a series of heavy rain events which lasted right through March.

In this wet pattern, there were two blockbuster storms. The first was on March 13th through 15th, where six to ten inches of rain fell across eastern Massachusetts. It flooded rivers, basements and businesses in many towns from Waltham, Peabody, Topsfield, Billerica, Pepperell, to Norwood.

Hundreds of Skywarn spotters were dispatched across the state providing critical information to what is happening on the ground.

“Our job is to go out there and feed that information to the forecasters so they can do a better job forecasting down the road,” said Skywarn emergency coordinator Carl Aveni.

The Nashua River experienced its worst flood in 23 years flooding the towns of Lancaster and Clinton closing some businesses for weeks.

Troy Mederios experienced the flooding first hand as manager of his company. “All the furniture was floating. Water was up to my waste. It cost us over two million in damage. All the machinery was damaged.”

READ: Beyond The Forecast blog

The final heavy rain occurred from March 29th through the 31st, this time the heaviest rain was over Rhode Island and southeast Massachusetts with towns like Providence, Warwick, Taunton, Bridgewater, and Fall River seeing the worst.

National Weather Service Hydrologist Nicole Belk says, “What happened with each of these rain events is there wasn’t enough time for the rivers and streams to recover so what you ended up with is the rivers coming up a little bit higher and a little bit higher, so by the end of March we had a number of rivers ending up with record flooding.”

The impact was severe. Most of the state was inundated with water and in a state of emergency. All-time record flooding on the Pawtuxet, Sudbury and Taunton Rivers closed roads, blocking access to homes and leaving some families with nothing to do but evacuate.

A total of 12 to 18 inches of rain fell on Massachusetts in March 2010, the second wettest month on record, only behind August of 1955, which brought Hurricane Connie and Diane.

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