Storm bursts into Marblehead, batters waterfront; MMLD restoring power

The Marblehead Police Department has reopened the Veterans Memorial Causeway and Beacon and Front streets after a pre-Christmas storm burst in and hit the town hard, flooding out the waterfront on Friday morning.

Atlantic Avenue is closed at the Swampscott line. Police warned people to stay away from coastal flooding areas as gusty winds, giant waves and heavy rain pounded Marblehead’s waterfront.

The storm batters Front Street buildings. COURTESY PHOTO / BRUCE DURKEE

At the 10:30 a.m. high tide, waves were crashing over the causeway’s seawall and across the Devereux Beach parking lot. Waves also swamped Front Street and Fort Beach and engulfed the Barnacle Restaurant. State Street Landing was flooded up to its parking lot. Salt water sloshed across the floor of the Landing Restaurant.

The storm, which is battering much of the country with snow, knocked out power to about 140 customers in Marblehead, according to Marblehead Municipal Light Department General Manager Joe Kowalik. Outages were mostly in the neighborhoods around Jersey Street and Evans Road, and Vassar Road and West Orchard Street.

“A crew was on standby since midnight and responded to the first outage report at 4 a.m.,” Kowalik told the Marblehead Current. Power has been restored to most residences.

The storm arrived the day before the National Weather Service predicts temperatures will plummet below zero across portions of interior southern New England Saturday morning.

The National Weather Service issued the following alerts for Marblehead:

A high wind warning remains in effect until 7 a.m. on Saturday. South winds 20 to 30 miles per hour with gusts up to 60 miles per hour. At times, isolated gusts up to 65 miles per hour along the coast. Damaging winds blew down trees and power lines.

Widespread power outages are expected. Travel will be difficult, especially for high profile vehicles. People should avoid being outside in forested areas and around trees and branches. If possible, remain in the lower levels of your home during the windstorm, and avoid windows. Use caution if you must drive.

A coastal flood warning remains in effect until 2 p.m. this afternoon. Coastal flooding is expected along the North Shore from Marblehead northward along the coast to Newburyport. The combination of high tides and large swells will result in flooding of some immediate coastal roads and some road closures are anticipated. One to two feet of inundation above ground level expected in low-lying areas near shorelines and tidal waterways (4.1 to 13.6 feet mean lower low water).

Waves roll into and hit the Veterans Memorial Causeway in Marblehead on Friday, Dec. 23, 2022.

Stay with the Marblehead Current for updates throughout the storm.

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