The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved more than $6 million in Disaster Assistance Loans for the natural disaster survivors in Massachusetts. Frank Skaggs, director of the SBA Field Operations Center East, reported 311 disaster loans have been approved totaling $6,239,500. The Administration has been urging those those who experienced the severe storms and flooding this past March to return completed applications as soon as they possibly can. Those who wait longer to file an SPA application may find themselves with unnecessary delays in receiving their disaster assistance.
Disaster loans are available to homeowners up to $200,000 to repair or replace a damaged primary residence. Homeowners and renters are also eligible for loans to repair or replacement of personal property of up to $40,000. Business and non-profits may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business property and assets .
The SBA encourages survivors of the severe storms and flooding that began on March 12 to return their completed applications, even if they have not settled with their insurance company. Waiting to file an SBA application could cause unnecessary delays in receiving disaster assistance. Those who have weathered the storms have also been encouraged to register with FEMA by phone at 800-621-FEMA (3362) or via TTY 800-462-7585 for those with speech or hearing disabilities. If the SBA is unable to approve a home loan you may be referred to FEMA for possible grant assistance.
The head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that federal aid will be available to those affected by the severe storms. This federal aid will supplement state and local recovery efforts.
The aid will provide federal funding to affected individuals in Bristol, Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Plymouth, Suffolk, and Worcester counties.
Mother Nature pulled a not so funny April Fools on Massachusetts residents. The rain finally subsided in New England yesterday bringing over 18 inches of recorded rainfall, a record breaking amount. Although dry weather and warmer temperatures are foretasted for Easter weekend the flooding rivers are not expected to fall as quickly as the clearing weather. Residents, engineers and public safety officials wait for the flood warnings to be removed and clean up to commence once more.
As some rivers have yet to crest other’s levels have just begun falling. The Assabet River crested at a nerve wrecking 7 feet Wednesday and remained at 6.8 feet this morning. The Concord River crested at an enormous 9.4 feet and the Charles River continues to rise expecting to crest at about 7.7 feet this afternoon.
According to the National Weather Service El Niño, a climate pattern surfacing in the tropical Pacific every three to five years and is to blame for the high levels of rainfall this past March. Rainfall in Boston lingering around 14 inches Tuesday makes it not only the rainiest March on record, but the second wettest month ever after a rainy August in 1995.
“This is much worse than a couple weeks ago. We’ve got houses with 3, 4, 5 or even 6 feet of water in their basements.” – Ferreira
Scott LacLeod, a spokesman for the state Emergency Management Agency, said the largest concerns yesterday were in southeastern Massachusetts, where flooding mandated closure of a major highway and cut off about 1,000 residents of Freetown when a bridge was made impassable. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation reported dozens of flooded roads and caution residents to drive safely while standing water remains on the roads.
Governor Deval Patrick declared a state of emergency yesterday for the second time this month as heavy rain returns to the Bay State. The third heavy rainfall this month brought a total of 11 inches of rain to Boston, a record breaking downfall. The National Weather Service reported areas of Massachusetts experienced 12.8 inches of rain this March. The Weather Service expects this number to rise to more than 15 inches by the end of the day today. Only second to a tropical August in 1955 this is one of the wettest months areas of Massachusetts has ever experienced.
Rivers continue to rise form their already swollen state as the relentless rains continue to fall. National Guard services were activated yesterday for various precautionary tasks in an effort to curb additional flooding from residential areas and businesses. Seven hundred National Guard troops were deployed this morning to help with the storm efforts.
Monday afternoon President Obama replied to Governor Patrick’s request for federal aid declaring the state a federal disaster area bringing federal funding to Massachusetts. Patrick said the funding will be used to bring housing back to a livable state offering grants to homeowners for things such as new water heaters and furnaces for flooded basements. Business owners will also have the opportunity to apply for low interest loans.
During a press conference yesterday the Governor did not call for specific areas to be evacuated however cautioned residents to closely observe the storm and if needed be prepared to evauate. Last night the Charles and Sudbury River levels exceeded flooding stages. Patrick advocated for drivers to use public transportation warning drivers it only takes two feet of standing water to sweep a vehicle away, with the driver in it.
Massachusetts residents along the Shawsheen River wade through back yards
Rainstorms blew overt the Northeastern parts of Massachusetts this weekend flooding roadways and forcing some schools to close. At least nine deaths over the weekend may be attributed to this nasty storm and almost half a million customers were without electricity in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut during the peak of power outages yesterday. Peter Judge, spokesman for the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, told reporters about 6,000 residents across Massachusetts were without power into the late afternoon yesterday.
Peabody, Massachusetts downtown area inundated by the storm’s influx of water is completely shut down. This is not the first time Peabody has experienced sever flooding. About four years ago the entire downtown area was shut down for five days due to flooding. Residents and business owners are crossing their fingers the water quickly moves through the town and does not persist as it did the last time around.
Winds gusted at a peak of 69 miles per hour yesterday as recorded by the Blue Hill Observatory near Milton. Wind speeds reached 54 miles per hour according to the Weather Service at Logan International Airport. In Manchester, New Hampshire yesterday a tree gave into the gusty winds falling onto southbound I-93 killing one and injuring two others.
As the rain continues to pour down on Massachusetts basements and roads continue to flood. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation has reportedly closed select highway off ramps. In several places throughout the Northeast trains and subways have been replaced by buses. In the last afternoon yesterday two lanes down Interstate 93 were shut down at the parkway as well as parts of Morrissey Boulevard, Quincy Shorte Drive, and Columbia Road. Sand bags were even laid near Boston’s Frenway park to keep the subway station from flooding.
The first signs of spring and better weather should surface tomorrow with a highs in the 50s.