Rep. Garlick Seeks Federal Emergency Declaration for Needham Following August 8th Flooding
In an update to Needham residents on August 14, Representative Denise Garlick (13th Norfolk District) described seeking a federal emergency declaration for the town, as businesses and residents continue to grapple with the effects of localized flooding from an extraordinary amount of rain that fell on Tuesday, August 8, 2023 - a weather event that Rep. Garlick has described as "catastrophic" and which led to a local Declaration of Emergency by Needham's town manager.
Rep. Garlick described meeting with Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll on August 11 to request a federal emergency declaration for Needham. A federal emergency declaration would have to be requested by the state and issued by President Joseph Biden. If issued, it could make federal aid available to Needham.
In issuing the local Declaration of Emergency also on August 11, Needham Town Manager Kate Fitzpatrick noted that the local declaration could also cause state, federal, and private sector resources to be released to recover, repair, or replace lost or damaged property.
In the meantime, the Needham community continues to conduct damage assessments with the assistance of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, noted Rep. Garlick. The town has created a dedicated webpage to collect reports of damage and help determine the extent of problems caused by the intense period of rain. The representative has urged residents who had more than 18 inches of water in their living space to contact the town. The town hopes to collect damage reports from residents and businesses by August 18th.
Some residents have also been reporting damage on SeeClickFix, and posting photos showing the flooding that occurred. One resident of Lincoln Street posted a photo of what is described as 4 feet of street water that entered the resident's basement and garage. Another report from Beaufort Avenue described accumulation of 2.5 feet of water in the backyard, a destroyed pool, and flooded basement. Foundational damage and a "washed out stone wall" was reported at Thornton Road. A report of flooding in a garage on Damon Road was also reported.
Data from the National Weather Service Boston indicates that from August 7 to August 8, 2.77 inches of rain fell in Needham. While other locations in the state may have received greater amounts of rainfall, whether flooding problems occur also depends on factors such as urbanization that creates impermeable ground surfaces, elevation, flat or sloping land, proximity to water, and population density.