Norwood declares state of emergency after Sunday’s heavy rain, flash flooding

State of emergency declared in Norwood following Sunday's heavy rain, flooding

NORWOOD, Mass. — The town of Norwood declared a state of emergency Tuesday, two days after flash flooding forced evacuations at Norwood Hospital and damaged homes and businesses.

Norwood General Manager Tony Mazzucco told Boston 25 News the town is working to provide financial assistance to those who experienced significant property damage due to the flooding, as they also work with state and federal leaders for additional funds.

“We’re going to do everything we can do to help every resident in town,” Mazzucco said by Zoom Tuesday. “Norwood never leaves anybody behind, and we’re not going to do that in this case either.”

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At least four inches of rain fell in less than an hour and a half, Mazzucco said, far too much, too fast for any storm drain to contain. At least a couple hundred homes experienced some flooding, with most seeing a few inches of water. But several basements and first floors in low-lying areas were covered by feet of water.

“It really is an unprecedented event where not only do we have what we’re calling a 30-year storm, it’s going on in a pandemic, which is still ongoing,” Mazzucco said. “And then add on to that, the hospital is shut down for at least six weeks, if not longer.”

Patients at Norwood Hospital were evacuated after the electrical room, pharmacy and much of the basement flooded.

As the storm raged Sunday, Ashley Moniz grabbed as many important items as she could gather from her basement as it quickly flooded.

“Every time I went back into the basement, I kept looking out this basement window, and I could see this side yard, just feet of water,” Moniz said. “And I said to my husband, ‘We have to go.’ And he said, ‘Where are we going to go?’ And I said, ‘Anywhere but here.’”

Ashley, Matt and their young daughter took shelter with family before returning to assess the damage. Their washer and dryer, several tools and baby clothing were ruined, among others. Dozens of items were strewn across the backyard Tuesday as they continued to dry out.

Neighbor Pat Lane, too, evacuated with his family as his basement filled up.

“I didn’t know how deep it was going to get,” Lane said. “But I knew that myself, my wife, our two children – Matthew, who’s three, and Charlotte, who’s five – we needed to evacuate.”

The Lanes headed to Walpole to stay with family and returned to four to five feet of water, damaging the furnace, water heater, washer and dryer, along with dozens of other valuable and sentimental items.

“Some stuff is salvageable, thankfully. Some stuff is obviously not,” Lane said. “But that’s all it is, is stuff. My wife and I are healthy, our kids are in great condition.”

For the Moniz and Lane families, the declaration is important, because they do not live in a flood plain and do not have flood insurance.

Before the town’s announcement Tuesday, Ashley Moniz and her husband, Matt, had placed calls to the city pressing for a state of emergency declaration. Posting on social media, they urged neighbors to do so, too.

“Insurance had certainly said, ‘You don’t have flood insurance. There’s not much, if anything, we can do for you.’ We were extremely upset,” Moniz said. “[The state of emergency] is a huge relief for many of us.”

The town asks residents whose homes were significantly damaged to email their name, address and phone number, along with a brief description of the damage. Residents can also call 781-352-2363.

Mazzucco said the Board of Selectmen are working on a way to provide immediate assistance to low-income residents affected by the flooding. The town is working on a separate measure to help businesses that flooded, he said.

CORRECTION: The email address for the Town of Norwood was incorrect in an earlier version of this story.

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