LEOMINSTER, Mass. — Multiple rescues were underway Monday night as flash flooding tore through the region, causing damage to cars and houses across the Leominster area and prompting officials in the community to cancel school for Tuesday.
A Flash Flood Warning is in effect in the Leominster-Fitchburg area until 8 a.m. Tuesday.
And Leominster Public Schools have cancelled classes for Tuesday, the schools superintendent said in a Facebook post on Monday night.
“Due to the extensive flooding from today’s storm, the Leominster Public Schools will be closed on Tuesday, September 12th. Please stay safe,” wrote Schools Superintendent Paula Deacon.
Route 2 remained closed on Monday night, and many of the roads in the Leominster area have sink holes making them extremely dangerous, local officials said.
A whopping 7.18 inches of rain had fallen in Leominster by 10:30 p.m. Monday, according to the Boston 25 Weather team.
On Monday, Leominster Mayor Dean Mazzarella urged residents to stay home and to not go out. Route 2 remained closed at 10 p.m.
“Hello everybody, believe me, just trust me when I tell you, if you do not have to go out, don’t,” Mazzarella said in a video posted on social media on Monday. “These catch basins are coming right out of the ground, you’re going to drive over one of them. All the streets are flooded.”
The city of Leominster was hit particularly hard, with mutual aid providing boats to assist with multiple rescues from flash flooding in the area.
Evacuations were underway in areas of the city, with a local mobile home park one area of concern.
Some local houses collapsed along local rivers, as the waters rose, undermining the structures.
A Boston 25 News crew was on the way on Route 2 on Monday night and stopped because the crew received several texts warning not to travel. There was barely any traffic on Route 2 late Monday night, as crews assessed storm damage across the region.
The local fire department told Boston 25 there are rescues of people trapped by rising waters.
A Leominster Fire Department dispatcher said at least a couple of hundred of houses were flooded.
Flooded roads were everywhere, including Route 117, which looked like a river Monday night because it was undermined by all the water.
Emergency crews said travel in town is hazardous. There are sink holes all around the city.
Earlier Monday, Boston 25 spoke to a man who saw Route 2 flood in just seconds after torrential rains fell during rush hour.
“It happened really fast, almost 4 feet of water on the westbound side. There was an SUV floating and its nose was down. And there was another vehicle and they were floating. On the eastbound side, there were people out of their vehicles and sitting on the grass on higher ground,” said Joe Rosa.
The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, Massachusetts State Police and Department of Fire Services are on the ground with boat rescue and emergency response teams to ensure the safety of residents, Gov. Maura Healey said in a statement late Monday night.
“There are catastrophic floods in the Leominster area and other communities across the state this evening. My heart goes out to the impacted communities and public safety personnel,” Healey said. “I’ve spoken with Mayor Mazzarella and instructed state agencies to do all that they can to assist. ”
During rush hour, Massachusetts State police said heavy rainfall and flooding were “causing major delays” in the area of the Interstate 90 and Interstate 291 exchange in Chicopee, as well.
“The off-ramps from the #MassPike to Route 291 in both directions have been closed,” state police said in a social media post. “Avoid the area and seek an alternate route.”
This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.
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