Coastal Communities in Massachusetts Hit Hard by Juno

By BOB SALSBERG | January 30, 2015

Some of the areas hardest hit by the blizzard that tore through the state were on the coastline, where oceanfront homes took the brunt of raging seas.

In Marshfield, officials were still assessing the damage but said at least four homes will likely be condemned. At least a dozen more sustained substantial damage after two 80-foot sections of sea wall were smashed.

A local fisherman, Tim Mannix, was trying to move furniture to secure a sliding door at his home when the ocean struck back.

“A wave hit at that moment and bang! – like lightning it hit me right in the face,” he said, his nose showing the damage from the encounter. ‘It was so fast I couldn’t believe it, and down I went.”

Mannix said the water came in from the back of his house, knocked down his back deck, washed through the house and destroyed his front deck.

He suffered six fractures in his nose, which required numerous stiches.

“The house is wrecked,” he said, “75 percent wrecked.”

Debbie Hanlon lives in Worcester and owns two summer homes in Marshfield.

“The water came over the wall and broke down the slider … which allowed the water to go straight through the house,” Hanlon said, describing the damage to one of the homes. “We ended up with a ton of rocks and sand.”

She said her second home was also damaged.

In Scituate, at least five homes on Oceanside Drive were damaged and a sea wall was compromised.

Officials there also pointed to downed wires, snapped polls and a blown transformer. Six streets were declared impassable.

Earlier in the day, Gov. Charlie Baker traveled to Scituate to get a firsthand look at the damage left by the blizzard.

“That was the hardest hit area of the commonwealth,” he said. “I want to see what the story is.”

Scituate Building Commissioner Neil Duggan said that in terms of damage to property, Tuesday’s blizzard was the worst storm since the infamous “no name” storm of 1991.

When Baker met with officials in Scituate Town Hall, they said they needed front-end loaders to clear out debris. Baker took out his cellphone and started texting for aid.

He said he’s planning to seek federal disaster aid for Massachusetts. He said he wants city and town officials to assess the damage in local communities before submitting the request.

Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Matthew Beaton said the damage is in the millions.

After visiting Scituate, Baker headed to Nantucket, another hard-hit community.

“It was in some respects the part of the commonwealth that dealt with the most significant storm damage,” Baker said before taking a helicopter trip out to the island, which lost power during the storm.

He went to the police station and visited a shelter set up at Nantucket High School where members of the Red Cross were working, according to an aide.

Baker also toured damage sites, including one on the town pier on Washington Street. He met with utility officials and the harbormaster for an update on power generation and how the tides were affecting the cleanup.

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