, Newburyport, MA

July 3, 2013

Lots of water, but no major damage reported


---- — NEWBURYPORT — A downpour on Monday generated a river of rainwater runoff that entered some stores in the downtown, but no serious damage was reported.

“We had water in the office, but we’ve had it before, and we dealt with it,” said Kevin Wallace, a Realtor at ReMax on the River at 11 Market St.

“We’re at the bottom of the street (State Street) and water from the top collects and ends up at our door. But we’re OK today.”

A staffer who wasn’t identified, joked, “We were ReMax in the River for a while.”

Minor flooding in downtown Newburyport has been a longtime problem. The downhill grid pattern of streets, and the gradual slope from High Street to Market Square, naturally funnels water into the square. On Monday, a torrent of heavy rain caused flash flooding that swept over the curbs and spilled over into some stores. Some stores keep sandbags at the ready, in case of a heavy rainfall.

Cara Brewin, manager at Winfrey’s Fudge and Candy at 21 Market St., also at the base of State Street, said that water entered the store about 3:30 p.m. and again about 4:45 p.m.

“We were ready to take the towels to the laundromat when we were flooded for a second time,” Brewin said. She said she was fortunate that three employees were on hand so that doors could be shut and clean-up operations could begin.

A sales representative at Ireland on the Square, at 6 Market Square, reported no damage at that venue, as did several other merchants at the bottom of State Street.

Michael Mroz, executive director of the Custom House Maritime Museum, reported no flooding at that building, located at 25 Water St.

Cheryl Kozuchowski, who is in the claims department at Arthur Page Insurance Agency, said, “We’ve had very few calls regarding damage. I thought we would get more from auto owners who sustained water damage, but we had very few calls about cars or homes.”

Rushing stormwater was reported on Virgina Lane and Low Street — among other thoroughfares — but city officials said they have not heard of serious damage.

Mayor Donna Holaday said yesterday, “No major damage was reported.”