Worst Is Over at Hampton Beach

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Flooding Ocean Waves Subside at Hampton Beach

By Patrick Cronin

Hampton Union, Friday, April 20, 2007

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]

HAMPTON -- Waves crashed over the seawall and there was flooding reported at the beach in Hampton early Tuesday morning, but fire officials said storm damage wasn't as bad as was originally thought and the worst appears to be over.

"We dodged a bullet," Deputy Fire Chief Steven Benotti said. "We are now out of the woods. We will have normal spring tides and we don't expect to see what we did unless we get another nor'easter."

Monday morning's extremely high tide brought 20- to 30-foot waves that flooded numerous homes and businesses at the beach, with some property owners reporting up to five feet of water gushing through their front doors.

Benotti said the two "saving graces" of the second high tide at 11:16 p.m. Monday were that a lot of water had drained from the marsh and the wind had died down.

Instead of dealing with 60 mph winds, as was the case earlier in the day, responders worked in 20 mph winds.

"We had flooding on the back streets of the beach, but it was nothing like we experienced earlier in the day," Benotti said.

While 12 people were evacuated from their homes due to flooding Monday morning, no one needed to be evacuated Monday night. The Fire Department, however, was called to Ocean Hotel on Winnacunnet Road to aid a couple who were dealing with flooding issues.

Numerous residents reported flooding in their basements, and several homes at North Beach received damage as "football-sized" rocks and other debris were flung over the seawall by the raging tides.

By 1 a.m. Tuesday, the town shut down its Emergency Operations Command Center, which had been operating since Sunday.

Benotti said fire personnel and the building inspector spent Tuesday assessing the storm's damage. No cost estimates on the amount of damage was available by Tuesday afternoon.

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