How western New England is bracing for more rain after historic flooding

A small tractor clears water from a business as flood waters block a street on July 12, 2023, in Barre, Vermont. (Charles Krupa/AP)
A small tractor clears water from a business as flood waters block a street on July 12, 2023, in Barre, Vermont. (Charles Krupa/AP)

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As if the Sumner Tunnel closure wasn’t enough, here’s another wrench for your commute: Shuttle buses are replacing Red Line service from Harvard to Broadway this morning due to a smoking train.

The T says it hopes to get service back on track soon. While you wait for the delays to clear up, let’s get to the news:

The floodwaters are still receding, but western New England is already preparing for more rain this week. The forecast is calling for several more rounds of heavy rain over the next few days, after historic rain caused severe flooding in Vermont and washed out roads and farms in western Massachusetts. Parts of already-drenched Vermont could get over an inch more of rain that the National Weather Service says will likely lead to more flooding.

  • How they’re preparing: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is slowly releasing more than 60 billion gallons of water from dams along the Connecticut River so they don’t overflow when the rain comes. Scott Acone, the deputy engineer for the Army Corps’ New England district, told WBUR’s John Bender the dams have held back a lot of potential floodwater in the past few days.
  • Surveying the damage: Some farmers in western Massachusetts say the rain wiped out an entire season of crops — another blow after an already-tough spring. Susan Scheufele, who works with farmers as part of the UMass Extension program, says next year’s harvest could also be affected: “There may be limitations on if they’re able to replant and when, and with what crops.” Scheufele added the state is working to develop guidance.
  • Some help: State Rep. Lindsay Sabadosa, a Northampton Democrat, says state and federal relief money could be tapped to help farmers and others recover, once all the losses are accounted for: “They can’t make up this damage on their own.”
  • Go deeper: After last summer, who would have thought too much rain would be our problem this season? But that’s our new “weather whiplash” reality, as WBUR’s Miriam Wasser explains.

The plan to transform the former Bayside Expo Center site by UMass Boston in Dorchester into a “modern-day Harvard Square” has taken a big step forward. Boston’s Civic Design Commission signed off yesterday on the master plan for “Dorchester Bay City” (listen, it’s better than “Seaport South"), which The Boston Globe reports would be one of the city’s largest-ever commercial developments.

  • What it would look like: According to its website, the project includes nearly 2,000 new residential units (20% would be affordable for those making 70% of the area’s median income), a 2.7-acre waterfront park, restaurants and — of course — lots and lots of lab space. You can scroll through the renderings here.
  • Next up: The Boston Planning and Development Agency will likely schedule a public hearing on the project in August, per the Globe.

Another part of Boston with a potentially big future: White Stadium. Mayor Michelle Wu’s administration — which asked for proposals this spring to revamp the aging stadium — is considering a women-led group’s pitch to make White Stadium home to a new Boston-based National Women’s Soccer League team. The plan, which was the only response to the city’s RFP, includes $30 million in upgrades.

  • During a tour of White Stadium yesterday, Wu said she was “so excited” about the possibility. (Boston’s former NWSL team, the Breakers, folded in 2018.) “We need a professional women’s sports team,” Wu said. “That will be a huge, huge step for Boston.”

More details emerge: A new police report says Boston City Councilor Kendra Lara was driving at least 53 mph in a 25 mph zone last month when she crashed her car into a house in Jamaica Plain.

  • What’s next: Lara — who has issued a general apology for the incident — is due in court next week on charges for driving with a revoked license in a car that was unregistered and uninsured.

P.S.— The Stanley Cup is coming to Massachusetts today. Bruce Cassidy, the former Bruins head coach who won this year’s trophy with the Vegas Golden Knights, is bringing the cup to Milton. It’s in part to promote the launch of his new mental health nonprofit in honor of a local teen — a close friend of Cassidy’s daughter — who lost her life in 2022.


Nik DeCosta-Klipa Newsletter Editor
Nik DeCosta-Klipa is the newsletter editor for WBUR.



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