BOSTON (SHNS) – North Andover sustained nearly $30 million in flood damage to public buildings, businesses and private homes after torrential rain swept through the Merrimack Valley earlier this month, which prompted local officials to declare a state of emergency.
Damage to public facilities, including to town and school buildings, is estimated to cost nearly $3.4 million, Town Manager Melissa Murphy-Rodrigues said in a letter Monday to Dawn Brantley, director of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.
“We also recognize that the railroad sustained damages, but have been unable to learn the value of those damages,” Murphy-Rodrigues wrote in the letter, which was shared with the News Service. “Amongst those damage estimates are the costs for roads that have been completely washed away, damages to our school buildings and town buildings and cemetery damage where historic gravestones have sunk.”
Murphy-Rodrigues said 56 businesses reported about $21.6 million in damages, with many unable to reopen for now. Meanwhile, flood damage to 309 homes is estimated to cost almost $5 million. The new flood damage estimates come as local officials scramble to compile information they can use to seek a federal disaster declaration, which could help local and state governments be reimbursed for the storm-related damages.
The Massachusetts Department of Revenue has approved North Andover’s request for emergency deficit spending, according to the letter. More than six inches of rain fell within a six-hour period on Aug. 8, and flood waters reaching five feet poured into businesses. Another storm on Friday, in which three inches of rain fell in a two-hour period, brought “additional destruction to many of the same businesses and residents,” the letter said.
Senate President Karen Spilka of Ashland visited North Andover and Haverhill last week with Sen. Barry Finegold of North Andover and others. Gov. Maura Healey, Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll and Brantley have also toured North Andover businesses wrecked by the flooding. More than a dozen days after the storm, some residents are still without power and others cannot return home, Murphy-Rodrigues said.
“We still have residents taking an accounting of their losses, asking for clean up supplies, removing water from their basements, first floors and garages, and struggling with damage to their foundations and infrastructure,” Murphy-Rodrigues wrote. “Insurance claims have already started to be denied.