Officials Still Tallying Damage From March 2-3 Nor'easter

By: Alan Pollock

Topics: Infrastructure , Storms

Though state officials say there was no damage to the roadway, erosion on Route 28 near the Muddy Creek Bridge is nearly at the edge of the pavement.  ALAN POLLOCK PHOTO

Even as the third in a series of powerful coastal storms bore down on the region this week, officials hadn’t yet finished cleaning up debris and assessing damage from the first storm.

As they wrestled with the future of Liam’s Snack Shack at Nauset Beach (see story, page 3), Orleans officials took action to save the town bandstand from the encroaching surf. With the structure on the edge of the eroded dune, public works officials installed steel I-beams under the bandstand and lifted it out of danger. The bandstand was relocated to a new spot on a bluff overlooking the beach, on town-owned land used for beach parking.

At the Chatham Fish Pier, the high water and surf lifted several massive timber cap logs from the top of the bulkhead, depositing them in the parking lot. Harbormaster Stuart Smith said the gangway at the south jog was damaged, and the north gangway was destroyed. The stairs that led to the beach will need to be removed and repaired, he added. The wind gauge at Old Mill Boat Yard registered a gust of 86 mph, Smith said. Many of the 50 or so buoys kept in the water during the winter were damaged or moved from their stations, he said.

“There was a lot of erosion,” he said. “There will be a lot of surveying to decide where all the new channels are.”

While Monomoy High School and Harwich Elementary were undamaged, high winds damaged the roof at Monomoy Middle School, which was covered in places by tarpaulins.

“While this building looks ugly, Chatham Elementary actually got hit harder,” Superintendent of Schools Scott Carpenter said. On the back side of the school, the roof shingles and underlying tar paper were “lifted up and blown to the front side,” allowing water to leak through the roof over the school library. Many ceiling tiles and the floor were soaked, but it appears most of the books were saved, he said. Efforts are underway to dehumidify the room to save the books from further damage, Carpenter said.

Monomoy Middle and Chatham Elementary schools are both owned by the town of Chatham. It was not immediately clear whether that damage, and damage along the waterfront, were covered by insurance.

The surf that pounded the causeway north of the Muddy Creek bridge caused erosion on the edge of Route 28 near Bay Road in East Harwich. A MassDOT spokeswoman Monday said there was no damage to the roadway surface or the structure of the road. Several town roads in low-lying locations were also damaged or undermined by the high water or surf.

As of early this week, all but a half-dozen Eversource customers on the Lower Cape had their power restored, and officials were bracing for additional outages caused by the predicted blizzard. Crews could be seen around the region cleaning up trees and branches felled by the first storm.

Private property owners were also busy cleaning up and repairing damage. In addition to myriad damaged roofs and fences damaged by the wind, there was marked erosion at many coastal properties. The large revetment protecting the Milden property on Minister’s Point suffered heavy damage during the first nor’easter, and crews were on site within a few days reinforcing the wall with new boulders.