NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

February 11, 2013

On Salisbury Beach, storm wields a surprise blow

SALISBURY BEACH — Most of the 46 North End Boulevard and Central Avenue residents were back in their houses yesterday after being evacuated from their homes and motel rooms Saturday morning due to coastal flooding related to the Blizzard of 2013.

Displaced residents, some in the scoop of a front-end loader, were rescued from their homes and stayed at the Hilton Senior Center on Lafayette Road until officials allowed them back in their homes Saturday evening.

The news wasn’t as good for Glenn and Jackie Guilmette of 240 North End Blvd., who remained with nearby relatives after a giant wave smashed through several of their home’s oceanfront windows, causing significant damage. The town’s building inspector quickly deemed the building uninhabitable and the Guilmettes were only allowed to re-enter their home to retrieve some belongings under the supervision of a local firefighter.

Glenn Guilmette said he was standing near the windows around 8:30 a.m. when the wave smashed through the glass, throwing him off his feet and perhaps knocking him unconscious.

“Knocked me on my ass, good times,” Guilmette said yesterday, as he and friends were shoveling snow.

His wife, Jackie, said she was upstairs just getting out of the shower when she heard a giant explosion downstairs. By the time she raced down the steps, her husband was under water with a table on top of him and their dog, Baxter had been washed into the kitchen area several yards away. Jackie Guilmette was able to call for help, revive her dazed husband and collect their dog before exiting their home.

“We’re alive, we have each other, everybody is fine,” Jackie Guilmette said.

The powerful wave caught the Guilmettes off-guard seeing that the astronomically high tide was scheduled to hit the area around 10 a.m., not at 8:30 a.m. The night before, police had sent out a Code Red phone blast to 1,000 beach-area households informing them of the impending high tide and to consider leaving the area.

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