Record high tide to blame for Boston’s icy floods

Cars sit in flood water from Boston Harbor on Long Wharf in Boston, Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018. A massive winter storm swept from the Carolinas to Maine on Thursday, dumping snow along the coast and bringing strong winds that will usher in possible record-breaking cold. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

BOSTON (AP/WPRI) — The icy flooding on many Boston streets during this week’s storm was caused by a record high tide.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration verified Friday that water levels at the federal agency’s Boston tide gauge reached a peak of 4.89 feet above the average of highest tide readings for the day.

BLOG: Why was RI spared from Thursday’s flooding? »

That broke the record of 4.82 feet above, set during the infamous Blizzard of ’78 in February of that year.

The flooding sent large trash containers floating down Boston streets, forced the shutdown of a subway station as water cascaded down the steps and prompted rescues of people trapped in cars and homes in Boston and several other Massachusetts communities by rapidly rising waters.

In Scituate, south of Boston, residents were spending Friday trying to dry out their basements before more frigid temperatures arrived. Waves ranging from 15-20 feet crashed over the Scituate seawall, flooding the surrounding neighborhoods.

Governor Charlie Baker got a first-hand look at the battered Scituate coastline Friday, while also thanking one hero from the winter storm.

During the height of the storm, restaurant manager Stephan Hill saw Harbormaster Stephen Mone fall into the icy water. Without a thought, Hill rushed to Mone’s aid and pulled him to safety just in the nick of time.

“I saw him and I said, ‘I don’t have much time, I can’t hold on much longer,'” Mone recalled. “He got to me and grabbed my shirt and my jacket and was pulling up on me. I didn’t have much time left. If he was another minute, I would’ve gone, I was going under.”

“It takes a lot of guts in the midst of a storm to run out onto a pier like that and do what you did,” Baker said as he thanked Hill for his heroic efforts.

Mone is doing fine and is recovering from the ordeal.

Longtime Scituate resident Dianne Davis said her home was completely surrounded by ocean water that eventually filled her basement.

“I’ve never been afraid, but when the water was coming up over my front steps, that’s when I said, ‘Ok this is getting serious.'” said Davis.

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