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Snow 'Bomb' Wreaks Havoc On Boston, Floods Seaport

Floodwaters reached the front door of General Electric's temporary headquarters in Boston's Fort Point neighborhood in early 2018.

An intense snowstorm socked Massachusetts Thursday at high tide, slamming downtown and the Seaport with the worst flooding seen since the Blizzard of 1978. 

The National Weather Service said it had received numerous reports of coastal flooding, and the MBTA temporarily had trains bypassing Aquarium Station on the Blue Line due to flooding at the waterfront subway station. Residents in Boston’s Seaport neighborhood reported floodwaters along Congress Street. 

“Water got to Congress and D streets and was starting to trickle further down Congress, but it doesn’t look like it made it to my lobby,” said Juan Martinez, a Waterside Place resident. 

Thursday’s storm left coastal communities from Provincetown to Ipswich dealing with flooding. The low-lying Seaport and Fort Point neighborhoods are some of Boston’s hottest for development, and Thursday’s storm was a fresh reminder of their vulnerability.

The encroaching waters picked up dumpsters and carried them down Seaport streets, WBZ reported. A current of icy sludge even flowed past General Electric’s temporary headquarters at 41 Farnsworth St. in Fort Point. 

The storm arrived in the wake of a December 2016 Climate Ready Boston report that presented the idea of building a four-mile storm barrier across Boston Harbor to protect the city from storm surges. Rising sea levels and storm surges have been estimated to leave $80B of Boston real estate vulnerable to flooding in coming decades. 

“Something has to be done,” Paul Kirshen, a civil engineer and professor at the University of Massachusetts Boston School for the Environment, told Bisnow in September about a proposed Boston storm wall. “Whether it’s this or more small-scale solutions, Boston has to come up with a strategy to protect itself against increased coastal flooding.”