Surviving Scituate: Resident Posts Videos Of Severe Flooding Caused By Winter Storm

Suzanne Mullarkey, who has lived on the South Shore for decades, knows how to handle the extreme weather.

By | Boston Daily |

For the most part—at least in areas of Boston and the surrounding suburbs—the first winter snowstorm of 2014 didn’t have as much muscle as the Weather Channel predicted when they decided to name it “Hercules.”

But that wasn’t the case for a lot of residents on the South Shore, who live along the coastline and beaches, where excessive flooding turned the streets and certain neighborhoods into river ways, as the high tide crashed into the seawalls around noon on Friday.

For longtime Scituate resident Suzanne Mullarkey, living in the area is a labor of love, and a lifetime commitment that comes with ups and downs—specifically seasonal flooding in the wintertime.

“We have been here 30 years, so we know what to do. You do a lot of preparatory work before these storms,” said Mullarkey, moments after capturing video from her porch of the waves rushing from the coastline down into her neighborhood, before engulfing her house in freezing cold ocean water. “Ninety-nine percent of the time it’s awesome to live here, but there is that one percent.”

Mullarkey posted three videos to YouTube on Friday—something she does every storm— as the winter weather started to die down. The videos show large waves crashing into the seawalls by houses, causing damage to some of her neighbor’s property.

She said some neighbors just moved in next door, and she was concerned about how they were handling their first experience living on the coastline in New England. She has been communicating with them since the start of the snowstorm on Thursday, to give them tips about how to deal with the wintry weather conditions.

“The main thing is the water comes so fast. If you have a vehicle parked outside that’s the really tough thing, because they get totaled,” she said. Mullarkey also said it’s important to leave garage doors that are on the ground level open so that the waves don’t cause them to buckle and bend.

Unfortunately for her new neighbors, they didn’t heed the advice in time, she said. “The new neighbor lost his garage door. It was broken from the water flooding into it.”

Debris from porches was also floating through her neighborhood, trailed by “lots of garbage cans.”

A voluntary evacuation order was put in place on Thursday night by Governor Deval Patrick, giving residents in Scituate a chance to escape the waves that pummeled the coastline, but Mullarkey and her husband decided to stay in place. A coastal flood warning was in effect for Massachusetts towns through 3 p.m. Friday.

As a seasoned veteran of dealing with the rough seas, Mullarkey’s house made it through the year’s first storm relatively unscathed, save for a few frozen pipes in the basement, and she didn’t think the final bout with the high tides would be any worse than the damage “Nemo” brought to Scituate.

“There were no major catastrophes this time. We are very, very lucky, because our house is really old, but it’s built up a level, so unlike other people whose houses are lower, we become an island. Our stuff is pretty good,” she said. “This isn’t for everyone— living on the coast is a choice. But like I said, 99 percent of the time it’s the best place to live in the world.”