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Hit Hard By Nor'easter, Marshfield Community Assesses Damage Along Coast03:45
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Governor Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency in the aftermath of storm Riley. Pictured here is Marion Street in Marshfield, Mass. Marshfield was just one of the coastal communities hit hard by the storm. (Bruce Gellerman/WBUR)MoreCloseclosemore
Governor Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency in the aftermath of storm Riley. Pictured here is Marion Street in Marshfield, Mass. Marshfield was just one of the coastal communities hit hard by the storm. (Bruce Gellerman/WBUR)

Gov. Charlie Baker has declared a state of emergency to aid in the clean up of this week's storm. The powerful nor'easter's winds, three near-record high tides and soaking rain pummeled New England, killing at least seven and knocked out power to more than 2 million homes in the region.

Hardest hit were coastal areas — like the seacoast community of Marshfield — as the storm stalled over the Atlantic for a day and a half.

After the first of three high tides, Marshfield police asked all non-essential people to stay off roads.

On low-lying Dyke Road, near Green Harbor, a Marshfield police car turned vehicles away as the water from the third high tide surged with surprising speed. Soon, even the police had to move back.

Dennis Kapolis drove here from his home in Plymouth. Frustrated, he put his truck in reverse.

"I'm here to check my boat and rumor had it that the bilge pumps were pumping water out of the boat while it was sitting on the ground," Kapolis said. "I'll have to come back later once we're allowed to go through and check it out."

Residents of Marshfield, Mass. watch as the third and final high tide of the storm rolls in. (Bruce Gellerman/WBUR)
Residents of Marshfield, Mass. watch as the third and final high tide of the storm rolls in. (Bruce Gellerman/WBUR)

It was two months ago that another nor'easter ripped through here. The icy rain and snow were worse back then, the waves a little higher. But the winds of storm Riley were a lot stronger.

Dennis Thibeault manages two properties in Marshfield. Between the first and second of the three high tides of this storm, Thibeault tried to protect his properties.

"We had to reboard up all the windows. Because actually, it ripped the plywood right off the windows that we boarded up. So we've just been trying to just keep up with it, and it's tough," Thibeault explained. "So we're getting the last boards up while the waves were hitting us. We're just trying to roll with it, you know."

Steve Bartlett stood at a picture window at The Green Harbor Yacht Club, and looked out across the water. In the distance, you can a beach and Brant Rock. It's the site of the first wireless radio broadcast. And nearby is Steven Bartlett's home. It's surrounded by water — he evacuated early.

"I know that it happens every storm surge, so I knew my car would be flooded and this is the second time this year," Bartlett said.

So why does he keep living there?

He laughed. "Who wants to buy the house?"

Along Beach Street, where Cape Cod Bay and Boston Bay meet, sightseers and homeowners walk through the storm surge for a closer look at the scene — and damage.

Sadie Murphy from Pembroke walked through the rising waters that filled the street.

"It's freezing," she said. "The water's so cold. We wanted to see the beach, but I turned around because my feet got cold."

"We're alive... that's all. That's a good thing," said Trish Duty.

Duty came to Marshfield to see how her friend's home survived the storm. It was surrounded by water. Duty lives in nearby Duxbury. Her home is on the beach, right next to a seawall. It was no match for this storm.

"The structure is there still. The porches are gone, the deck is gone. The inside is wiped out," she explained.

Duty says as soon as she can, she'll rebuild her home on the beach.

"Why do you live there?"

"Because I inherited the house from my grandparents and it's absolutely beautiful... three months a year."

This segment aired on March 4, 2018.

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Bruce Gellerman Twitter Reporter
Bruce Gellerman is an award-winning journalist and senior correspondent, frequently covering science, business, technology and the environment.

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