Torrential downpours in central Massachusetts on Monday evening caused dangerous flash floods, leading to the evacuation of residents and the declaration of a state of emergency. The city of Leominster, located about 40 miles northwest of Boston, was particularly affected.
Northeastern Worcester County, where Leominster is situated, received between six and nine inches of rain on Monday. As a result, a flash flood warning was issued by the National Weather Service until 8 a.m. Tuesday. The Weather Service also declared a flash flood emergency for Leominster and warned residents to seek higher ground immediately. The towns of Fitchburg, Lunenberg, Sterling, and others were also at risk of flash flooding.
Conditions in Leominster became so severe that the city declared a state of emergency. Schools were closed on Tuesday due to the flooding, and one elementary school served as a shelter. The neighboring town of Hubbardston sent a fire engine to assist in rescuing trapped individuals.
Mayor Dean Mazzarella of Leominster witnessed the extent of the flooding during a car tour of the city. He shared images of washed-out roads and damaged homes on his Facebook page, emphasizing that all streets were flooded and advised against unnecessary travel. Certain areas of Leominster were evacuated due to the proximity of a reservoir.
Governor Maura Healey described the flooding as “catastrophic” and stated that she had spoken with Mayor Mazzarella and state agencies involved in rescue and emergency response efforts. By 1 a.m. Tuesday, the heavy rain had mostly subsided across southern New England, although more rain was expected in the coming days, potentially hindering cleanup and ongoing rescue operations.
Tuesday morning was predicted to bring scattered showers before a frontal system brought additional rains to the region on Wednesday. The situation continues to be monitored closely.