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February 11, 2013

Heavy damage in blizzard's wake

City sees home, coastal damage; no school today

GLOUCESTER — The city of Gloucester lifted its street parking ban Sunday night.

The state’s 24-hour travel ban was lifted the day before, and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority was resuming its full service — including commuter rail to and from Gloucester, West Gloucester, Rockport and Manchester.

But the need for en extended street and sidewalk cleanup led city officials Sunday to call off classes in all of Gloucester’s public schools today. And Mayor Carolyn Kirk said she expects the cleanup from the massive and ferocious Blizzard of 2013 that struck Friday and carried well into Saturday to continue for several days.

Dubbed Superstorm Nemo by The Weather Channel, which is naming winter storms recognizing when they pack a hurricane punch, the storm – striking 35 years to the week after the deadly Blizzard of ‘78 — pummeled Cape Ann with between 20 and 24 inches of snowfall, and with wind speeds that included gusts of up to 60 miles per hour.

A predicted storm triggered by the blizzard hit coastal areas of Gloucester the hardest, forcing the evacuation of at least one home on Salt Island Road, damaging other homes and properties on Shore Road, and dealing another structural blow to the Lane’s Cove seawall, which was also breached during the two-day post-Christmas storm of December 2010.

The hardest hit came on Salt Island Road, where, according to a neighbor, a large wave spawned by the surge struck at one of the upper floors of a Salt Island Road home, breaking through the windows and sending water cascading down through the interior of the house.

The Good Harbor footbridge was also uprooted off Atlantic Road during the blizzard, and there was a “significant” amount of debris along that street, Police Chief Leonard Campanello said Sunday. And Gloucester was not alone, Rockport’s Bearskin Neck buildings, restaurants and shops took heavy hits, with some residents there evacuating and moving voluntarily to a shelter set up by the American Red Cross at Rockport High School (see related story).

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