, Newburyport, MA

Local News

February 11, 2013

On Salisbury Beach, storm wields a surprise blow


By the end of the evening Saturday, even those whose homes had sustained minor damage were able to return to their digs and start cleaning up from the storm.

Janet Schofield of 250 North End Blvd. heeded the Code Red announcement and left around noontime Friday. She came back Sunday morning to find 7- to 8-foot snowdrifts behind her house. Schofield said the only thing that kept her house from falling prey to the same waves that damaged nearby homes was a large sand dune.

“That’s what saved my house; other than that, the water would have been in my apartment,” said Schofield, who has lived at the same residence for 32 years.

The same scene to various degrees was played out in houses up and down the road that links Salisbury Beach to Seabrook Beach and beyond. Around 10 a.m. Edward Bemis and his wife, Nancy, were caught in a monster wave that crashed through their sliding glass door.

On Central Avenue, guests at Michael’s Ocean Front Motel were evacuated after the motel’s manager, Robin Weistenstein, received a phone call from emergency responders around 9 a.m. with an urgent evacuation order. After waking her son and her two grandchildren who were staying with her, she opened the door to her basement apartment and saw seawater seeping down a long staircase into the office area. Along with her relatives, two families and two single guests left the building and were placed in a shuttle bus that took them to the Hilton Senior Center. There they stayed until receiving word around 6 p.m. that it was safe to return to the motel.

Weistenstein said yesterday that the water was able to make its way through a beach access point with little hindrance. Following her return to the motel, a friend with a Snowcat plugged up the access point with snow.

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