Governor Healey Declares State of Emergency Over Catastrophic Flood Damage

Governor Maura T. Healey declared a state of emergency in Massachusetts due to the catastrophic flash flooding and property damage caused by Monday night’s powerful rainstorm in Worcester County, Bristol County and other communities. Upwards of 10 inches of rain fell in Worcester and Bristol Counties, causing widespread flooding, downed trees, power outages and damage to homes, businesses, and infrastructure, including bridges, dams and train tracks.

At Governor Healey’s direction, state agencies have been on the ground assisting impacted communities, including the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), Massachusetts State Police (MSP), Department of Fire Services (DFS), Department of Conversation & Resources (DCR), Office of Dam Safety (ODS), Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA).

“Today I saw firsthand the devastating impacts of severe flooding in Leominster and North Attleborough – and it was painfully clear that Massachusetts is in a state of emergency. This declaration will expedite our efforts to deliver relief to impacted communities and bolster our ability to access federal resources,” said Governor Maura Healey. “We’re grateful for the public officials who have been going above and beyond to respond to this emergency and our hearts are with the people of Massachusetts who are confronting catastrophic damage to their homes, businesses and communities.”

“As a former Mayor, I know how devastating it is when severe weather damages your community, and I know how much municipalities rely on the support of their state and federal partners,” said Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll. “Our administration is committed to standing up for the people of Massachusetts and not only delivering the relief they need, but also helping them build resiliency to prepare for future emergencies.”

The emergency declaration gives the Governor the authority to issue recommendations, directives and orders necessary to protect the health, safety and security of Massachusetts residents and their property. The declaration facilitates the state’s efforts to respond to the emergency, including expediting the use of state resources and bolstering the state’s ability to access federal and interstate resources and assistance.

MEMA staff have been on the ground in impacted communities since Monday, working around the clock to support the local emergency operations centers, coordinating requests for assistance and securing thousands of sandbags to minimize the impact on communities. MEMA also coordinated additional staffing for the shelters, facilitated the procurement of sign boards, cots, and shelter equipment to support individuals with disabilities.

“With more rain in the forecast for Wednesday, additional flooding is expected that may compound lingering impacts from Monday’s storm,” said MEMA Director Dawn Brantley. “MEMA continues to work side-by-side with our local emergency management partners, and I urge residents to stay informed with the latest weather updates.”

“In the past few months, we’ve seen dramatic swings in weather. This is climate change, and it’s important for our administration to be there to help communities adapt to these impacts,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rebecca Tepper. “We’re zeroing in on our resilience approach, which includes collaborating with communities, weaving in environmental justice, and taking action to prepare for future significant weather events.”

“Our Office of Dam Safety team has been on the ground in Leominster since last night, working closely with state and local emergency management officials to inspect and assess the safety of over half of the dams in the city following the intense flooding from yesterday’s severe rainfall,” said Department of Conservation & Recreation Commissioner Brian Arrigo. “Our team identified that the Barrett Park Dam suffered serious damage due to overtopping and coordinated with the city to quickly find solutions to repair the damaged embankment. We will continue to work with the city and other dam owners to provide any technical assistance as needed.”

“MassDOT and MBTA personnel are ready and prepared to support infrastructure repairs and damage assessments from flooding for bridges, roadways and train corridors,” said Acting Transportation Secretary and CEO Monica Tibbits-Nutt. “MBTA General Manager Phil Eng was onsite near North Leominster Station and is working closely with Keolis to install a pipe to channel water under the tracks, rebuild the embankment and get commuter rail service restored. Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver has met with crews involved with emergency repairs and with crews deployed to support temporary traffic control measures for road closures. Our workforce will continue to collaborate with municipalities as communities recover from the severe weather impacts.”