Mayor, city officials cite cooperation, Wonderland as factors in blizzard cleanup

By Sara Brown

 

Revere dealt with minor coastal flooding from historic blizzard Nemo that left other parts of the state in much worse condition. With about 30 inches of snow, the storm cracked the top five list of the worst storms the city has faced.

However, before the storm even hit, Revere city officials prepared for the worst.

“All has been done that can be done to minimize flooding, insuring the safety of our residents and expediting the cleanup process of public buildings and sidewalks,” Mayor Dan Rizzo said Friday at a press conference. He added, “This is an extremely powerful storm and I’m asking the public for patience.”

Revere issued a parking ban for many streets in order for the city to plow streets more quickly and efficiently, in case emergency vehicles are needed to drive down them. Residents were allowed to park at Wonderland Station at a reduced rate of $5 a day. Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick issued a driving ban for the state on Friday after 4 p.m.

“Our main focus is keeping the main arteries open. Abandoned cars are the biggest reason cities get bogged down for snow removal,” DPW Superintendent Don Goodwin said.

Thankfully, most residents listened to the parking ban. 19 cars were towed and 12 of those cars were from Revere, said Police Chief Joseph Cafarelli.

In future storms, city officials hope more residents use Wonderland to park.

“Wonderland was a godsend. Next time we will encourage people to use it more.” Rizzo said.

Cafarelli said that cars have to be shoveled out by Wednesday and “We will tow otherwise.”

One of the main worries for the city was flooding and tides after the storm.

“Our main concern is tomorrow’s [Saturday] tide. 10 a.m. high tide has the sea surge of 25 feet.” Fire Chief Eugene Doherty said Friday at a press conference. He further explained, “Always the second and third tide of a storm is the most treacherous. Hopefully, we won’t get a third.”

The city had an evacuation plan and had schools ready for warming centers and shelters.

During the storm, 40 foot waves crashed over the seawall, causing minor flooding on streets. No homes or businesses were damaged.

City officials and hired contractors worked all night plowing and cleaning streets through 70 m.p.h. winds and at times in whiteout conditions.

“There were guys working 40 to 50 hours on zero hours of sleep. I couldn’t be more proud of the team we assembled,” Rizzo said.

Ward 4 Councillor Stephen Reardon said he was pleased with the cleanup as well. He opined, “I went driving at 4 on Saturday around the ward and didn’t get stuck at all. I don’t know what more you can ask for. There are other cities in much worse shape.”

Revere Public Schools canceled school on Friday, Monday, and Tuesday.

“We have to make it safe enough for people driving around…some people don’t clean off their sidewalks and they won’t be cleared Thursday or Friday, but we have to get back to school,” Superintendent Paul Dakin said Monday.

Officials cautioned residents who were driving around the city to look out for citizens walking on the streets. “There are a lot of blind corners and there are children behind the corners, so just be careful,” Goodwin said.

Ward 3 Councillor Arthur Guinasso spoke on how Revere residents impressed him during the storm. “I saw neighbors helping neighbors. You don’t see that in other communities. It was really great to see,” he said.