EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

February 11, 2013

On Plum Island, storm leaves wrecked home

PLUM ISLAND — Plum Island Center remained closed yesterday over concerns about high tides in the wake of the Blizzard of 2013. Nearby, a weary Annapolis Way resident continued to do the little he could to keep his heavily damaged oceanfront home in one piece.

His house battered and beaten by a succession of powerful storms including this weekend’s blizzard, Annapolis Way homeowner Thomas Nee said it was time to accept the fact that neither he nor his father could live there any longer.

Saturday’s surge tide brought a ferocious pounding surf that some Plum Islanders said was the worst they have ever seen. The already vulnerable 300-yard section of beach just south of the island center took the worst of the pounding, with five homes on Annapolis Way and one on Dartmouth Avenue considered uninhabitable due to erosion damage.

Throughout the day yesterday, police were busy keeping the curious from parking at Plum Island Center. At mid-afternoon, a police officer there was heard asking for additional units to help him enforce the closure.

During the height of Saturday morning’s high tide, waves crashed up and over the beach center, sending a cascade of salty water into the center parking area and knocking some people off their feet. The high tide also flooded Plum Island Turnpike, essentially stranding everyone on the island until water levels receded.

Yesterday, Newbury police Chief Michael Reilly said the parking lot remained closed but people could still walk to the beach. Yellow tape was placed behind the endangered houses to keep people away should they fall onto the beach. Reilly added the beach could be closed at some point to allow workers to further shore up affected homes.

An astrologically high tide Saturday morning around 10 a.m. did much to convince Nee that it was time to consider a new residence, after waves demolished the 6-inch concrete floor of his father’s basement apartment and sucked out many of his belongings.

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