Winter storms cripple coastal homes
NEWBURY, Mass. (WHDH) -- Whipping winds and coastal flooding increased erosion worries on Plum Island as a strong winter storm passed through.
Four homes were left badly battered and barely standing after Thursday’s storm.
Steven Batchelder spent Thursday morning clearing out his daughter's home. She can't stay there any longer as the storm proved too powerful.
“We saw the water was going to come to us. Fortunately I had this amount of dune in front of me. I had a lot more as of yesterday,” said Batchelder said.
The sea swallowed the foundations and furniture.
“To see my neighbor’s homes destroyed, it’s terrible,” said Bob Connors.
“This is as bad as I’ve seen it in 1976 when this house was located over there and it fell into the ocean,” one woman said.
Whipping winds and high tide wreaked havoc on Newbury’s coastline and Mark Greenberg's backyard.
“The ocean water is 20 literally feet from the base of our deck, and if we lose another 20 feet we lose the house,” said Mark Greenberg, homeowner.
The town held an emergency meeting Friday morning to try to find a temporary solution to protect the homes, saying they have to take this tide by tide.
“What we’re looking at is a temporary type of a bag, biodegradable bag, about 40 feet long,” said David Vine, GZA Geo-Environmental.
Sharon Branahan said she lost a foundation wall and doesn't know if her home is structurally sound.
“We don’t know how many, what the costs will be, but this is all homeowner costs,” she said. “We’ve had the house for 44 years and when my parents bought the house, there was so much land in front of the home, you had to walk oh, so far out to get to the ocean, so it’s really amazing what’s happened.
Two of the homes have been deemed uninhabitable. The others are on the verge of collapsing.
“There's four homes that we know about, there could be even more,” State Sen. Bruce Tarr, Gloucester.
The town's building inspector alongside town officials surveyed the damaged Thursday. They've never seen anything quite like it before.
“We do have homes that are in jeopardy. We face this kind of threat throughout the winter and into the spring -- and even beyond that,” said State Sen. Bruce Tarr, Gloucester.
Homeowners had little time to prepare -- and frustration for many is mounting as no clear quick-fix appears in sight.
“The beach has been building up and now it’s receding. This is what Mother Nature does, it comes and goes,” one woman said.
“It doesn’t seem that anyone wants to move that fast here and I’m not sure what we’re waiting for,” said Greenberg.
Another storm is supposed to hit Saturday, adding insult to injury to the already-damaged homes.