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Patrick Declares State Of Emergency As Rain Storm Continue

Gov. Deval Patrick declared a state of emergency Monday afternoon as a tenacious storm continued pouring rain on Massachusetts, flooding roads and basements, forcing school closures and overwhelming drainage systems.

[soundslide]http://www.wbur.org/files/soundslides/2010/wbur_0315_boston-rain[/soundslide]

The National Weather Service reports the storm bringing wind gusts of up to 50 miles per hour has dropped up to 10 inches of rain on some areas of the state, with precipitation expected to continue through Monday night.

Fred Laskey, executive director of the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, said the agency purposely released eight million gallons of untreated sewage into Massachusetts Bay.

"That's a legal but necessary step to protect the (Nut Island) sewer facility from being flooded and also to protect parts of Quincy from being submerged in sewage," Laskey said. "It's the lesser of two evils," he added.

Flooding has caused a sinkhole to develop beneath the Green Line (D) subway between the Chestnut Hill and Newton Centre stations. (MassDOT/Flickr)
Flooding has caused a sinkhole to develop beneath the Green Line (D) subway between the Chestnut Hill and Newton Centre stations. (MassDOT/Flickr)

Laskey stressed the environmental impact from the release will be minimal, saying 90 percent of the release was made up of storm water.

Flooding has caused some major problems for the MBTA, especially along the Riverside branch of the Green Line. A huge sinkhole opened up Monday morning below both the inbound and outbound tracks, between the Chestnut Hill and Newton Center stations. Passengers are being bussed between Reservoir and Riverside.

MBTA officials do not know how long before service is restored.

"As long as the rain continues, it'll be very tough to re-build the track bed under the track," said MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo. "It's not a situation where we even want to even attempt to continue train service."

Workers threw up sand bags to construct a temporary dam around the entrance to the Fenway subway station as the Muddy River rose to 15 feet and threatened to flood the station.

The rain has already caused problems for many Greater Boston communities. Belmont High School was closed due to flooding of the Clay Pit Pond. In Quincy, Christopher Walker, the mayor's director of policy, said Monday morning his city is experiencing the worst flooding it has seen in 10 to 15 years.

"We have had some evacuations on a couple streets in West Quincy, where homes are seeing 10 to 12 feet of water on the street," Walker said.

Rivers, including the Shawsheen in Wilmington and the Aberjona in Winchester, were near their highest recorded levels.

"Anything in eastern Massachusetts is either at or near or over flood stage, and probably won't crest for another day or so," said Peter Judge, of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.

Flooding also slowed many roadway morning commutes. Route 1 was closed Monday between Topsfield and Danvers due to a mudslide. Some flooding was also reported on Storrow Drive, the Lynn Fells Parkway, Alewife Brook Parkway and Route 2.

"Flooding is the No. 1 issue," Judge said. "This rain doesn't look like it's going to stop till this evening. It's not going to go away soon. Hopefully the rain itself will lighten up. As long as it continues to rain it will be problematic."

The Massachusetts Port Authority said the weather was causing some delays and cancellations at Logan International Airport.

As of 10 a.m., Logan spokesman Phil Orlandella said the airport is operating with two runways Monday because of wind conditions. A number of flights were canceled and over 100 flights delayed Monday morning.

The storm also knocked out power for thousands in the state. National Grid reported early Monday that 1,700 of its customers were in the dark, mostly in Essex County. N-Star reported about 1,000 outages, with about half of those outages in Brookline.

Judge said a coastal flood warning has also been posted, though that should not pose much of a problem.

"We're lucky in that it's astronomically low high tides at this point," Judge said. "But the coastline has taken quite a beating the last two or three storms. There's quite a lot of erosion going on."

Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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This program aired on March 15, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

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