EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

January 4, 2014

On Plum Island, waves pound rock barrier

(Continued)

Generally speaking, Plum Island residents weathered this latest storm fairly well. Kathy Connors, who lives on Annapolis Way and whose family has been heavily involved in erosion related issues on Plum Island, said the storm caused much less damage to the island’s beachfront homes than the last few storms have, although there are concerns about seawater coming up over the dunes and flooding the sewer system. Some ocean water seeped over the dunes and into lowlying areas as high tide hit around 1 p.m.

John DeMartino, who lives a couple of houses down on Southern Boulevard, said the waves produced by the storm were some of the biggest he’d ever seen on Plum Island. He added that the rock walls generally did a good job protecting the homes along the beach, and without them there may have been a lot more damage.

“I think the walls are making a difference for a storm this size, but it’s hard to say how long it’s going to last,” DeMartino said. “I think we’re better off with the wall here, without it we’d probably be in worse shape.”

Erin Bligh, who lives on Southern Boulevard as well, said she was also surprised by how high the seas were but added that the wind died down considerably before the high tide hit, which probably saved the island from a much worse situation.

“I was surprised, wind-wise it’s definitely less aggressive than the past couple of storms have been, but I’m surprised by how high the surf is,” Bligh said. “I think we’re having a pretty high tide in general plus with all the weather, I think if the wind hadn’t backed off this morning it would’ve been horrible. We’ve got to thank our lucky stars for that.”

The Newburyport end of the island also suffered damage from the storm. Newburyport firefighters responded to a homeowner off 53rd Street who reported storm surge-related flooding.

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