, Newburyport, MA


February 9, 2013

Storm batters Plum Island homes

At least two Annapolis Way homes compromised


Debris from damaged homes and stakes used to hold the massive coir bag system in place is whipping in the wind. Once low tide arrives around 4:30 a.m. Saturday, residents and emergency workers are expected to work to clearthe debris to prevent them from becoming damaging projectiles.

As high tide rolled in late Saturday morning, giant waves battered Plum Island and flooded numerous roads, capping off a brutal blizzard that dumped more than 2 feet of snow on some parts of the island.

As of noon, none of the four houses on Annapolis Way that were considered vulnerable due to damage from December's big storm had been lost, although Newbury officials said several of the houses had suffered extensive damage and it wouldn’t be clear until later if the houses could be saved.

“It’s absolute mayhem out there,” said Bob Connors of 39 Annapolis Way. “The water is coming right up to the houses.”

Emergency workers closed Annapolis at around 10:20 a.m. and wouldn’t let anybody in after the waves began to flood the street. Prior to that, Newbury’s building inspector said that the Batchelder residence at 35 Annapolis Way had its gas tank pulled off the house by the surf.

The sandbags that were put up in advance of the storm reportedly provided some protection, but not much, he said.

"We've got 20-foot seas crashing in causing flooding and some structural damage to some homes that sustained damage in the last storm," Connors told Channel 5 News at 9:30 this morning.

"In my 33 years, I haven't seen the seas this high or rough. It certainly is not a place to be going for curiosity-seekers."

The National Guard is mobilized, Connors said, but there is nothing that emergency workers can do until after the tides subside.

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