Thursday, May 23, 2024

Renewed rain caused pooling waters Tuesday between Route 2 and the Alewife Brook Parkway in Cambridge. (Photo: Marc Levy)

The rain keeps coming, on its way to a predicted 6 to 8 inches to add to the 10 from mid-March, and the National Weather Service has warned of flooding throughout the state.

By 3:22 p.m., roads were closed throughout the area — including the Alewife Brook Parkway between Massachusetts Avenue and Route 2; the Arlington Street exit from Route 2; and all but one lane on Soldier’s Field Road by the Harvard Stadium in Allston.

And the rain is due to go on through Wednesday morning, with city officials keeping anxious eyes on the Mystic River and Amelia Earhart Dam, said Gerry Mahoney, head of the city’s Emergency Management Department. When the dam backs up, it backs up into the Alewife Brook, and North Cambridge can flood.

“It’s pretty uneventful at this point,” Mahoney said Tuesday morning, “but a lot of this is dependent on tides … We’re kind of at the mercy of tides and the harbor.”

Driving in on Route 16 at about 8 a.m. on the Alewife Brook Parkway, the roads were largely clear of pooling water and Alewife Brook was “pretty high” but not growing too rapidly, he said.

A car is towed just after noon Tuesday from brush by Route 2 east. (Photo: Marc Levy)

By noon, though, water had indeed pooled, resulting in a sometimes blinding spray and fishtailing for the speeding cars, and at least one driver had lost control. The car, which appeared totaled, was being towed from the brush at 12:20 p.m. by the decaying Faces nightclub on Route 2, guarded by State Police.

A trooper reached at the end of the business day indicated there had been few such incidents.

Similarly, aside from a couple of detail officers helping direct traffic on the parkway, among Cambridge police officers there was “no one doing anything flood-related and nothing big going on,” said Emily Wright, a spokeswoman for the police.

It was also a slow morning in terms of residential calls for help, Mahoney said, crediting the clearing of storm drains undertaken last week by the Public Works Department. “It’s not like a snowstorm where you can treat the roadways and things like that to prevent icing. There’s not a lot of proactive steps you can take.”

But he encouraged residents to take action and clear valuables out of basements — if they weren’t already removed during flooding earlier in the month. Flooding will come even easier during this storm, meteorologists say, because the ground simply can’t absorb more water.

Or, as Gov. Deval Patrick said at a news conference Tuesday in Lexington, “We’ve had two 50-year storms in the course of two to three weeks. This is unheard of … this could cause floodwaters to rise very, very fast.”

He called a state of emergency at 3 p.m. Monday, easing the way to federal reimbursement for damages caused by the current storm. He also issued a memo to guide those seeking reimbursement from previous rains, which prompted complaints when they seemed to take the city by surprise and hit harder.

Public Works officials didn’t return messages left starting Monday.