Monson declares state of emergency after heavy rains cause flooding
The western Massachusetts town of Monson, one of several area communities battered by tornadoes in June 2011, declared a state of emergency this afternoon after heavy rains washed out roads earlier in the day, according to officials.
Torrential rains fell between 6:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m., causing brooks to overflow and forcing the closure of of Route 32, according to the National Weather Service. In addition, Beebe Road, Chestnut Street and Palmer Road were washed out, according to the service.
Richard Smith, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, said in a phone interview this afternoon that most of the affected roads were reopened at about 1 p.m.
He said at approximately 3:30 p.m. that only Beebe Road remained impassable, with about 600 feet of the road’s surface taken out by the flooding. He said officials hoped to reopen the road later tonight, and crews are refurbishing the street with soil and gravel.
A tornado ripped through the town of about 8,500 on June 1, 2011 and damage or destroyed hundreds of homes.
Smith said most of the flooding today occurred in a separate part of town from the site of the tornado damage, but residents were on edge Friday after hearing the weekend forecast, which included tornado warnings.
“Fortunately it didn’t come to pass,” he said.
Town Administrator Gretchen Neggers said in an email today that the weather service estimated 5.8 inches of rain fell in the affected area this morning.
“There have been reports of some flooded cellars in residential properties but no known significant damage to private property,” Neggers wrote.
In a Globe opinion piece that ran on the one-year anniversary of the storm, Neggers and Leonard Weake, president of the Quaboag Hills Chamber of Commerce, wrote that dozens of homes were still being repaired and rebuilt.
Today, Neggers said she did not have access to current recovery statistics but said many residents are still rebuilding.
“We hope that this doesn’t hamper any ongoing repair efforts,” Neggers wrote. “Some properties that have not been repaired that are open to the elements may incur additional water damage and any areas with new landscaping or site work may be subject to erosion.”
She said the damages today were within expectations and limited to areas that have been prone to flooding in the past.
“We expect to have at least temporary repairs completed to make all roads passable by the end of the day,” Neggers said.
While the town was hit hard this morning, there is no rain forecast for the area tonight, according to Charlie Foley, a weather service meteorologist.Travis Andersen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.
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