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Boston Herald
Boston Herald
22 Jul 2023
Chris Van Buskirk

NextImg:‘Pretty nice weekend’ expected in Boston after heavy rains, forecaster says

Thunderstorms Friday that washed out Amtrak service and closed highways in Western Massachusetts are expected to give way to a “pretty nice weekend,” a meteorologist with the National Weather Service said Saturday morning.

Multiple highways in Deerfield, Greenfield, and Conway were closed Friday night after strong rains led to flooding, a spokesperson for Massachusetts Department of Transportation said. A train track in Deerfield used by Amtrak’s Vermonter service was washed out after 5 inches of rain fell in one hour.

Boston reported anywhere from one to two-and-a-half inches of rain Friday night, according to the National Weather Service in Norton. But the weekend is forecasted to clear up, said Bryce Williams, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

“Looking at a pretty nice weekend on tap,” he said Saturday, adding that “We’ll have plenty of sun” as temperatures top out in the low 80s for both weekend days.

Clouds blanketed Boston Saturday morning but were expected to thin out over the course of the day.

“Sunday’s gonna be the best of the two days with more sun,” Williams said. “We’ll have dry weather throughout and no real strong winds. It’s gonna be a pretty nice weekend.”

Amtrak Northeast reported multiple weather-related disruptions with its Vermonter train service Friday night. A side track washed out, according to MassDOT, but the main track was “still intact.”

Crews were working to determine Friday night if the Vermonter service could continue and whether it was safe to run trains Saturday and Sunday. An Amtrak Northeast spokesperson did not immediately respond to an inquiry Saturday morning.

Route 116 in Conway was also closed Friday afternoon after flash flooding. The roadway had already been damaged from rain earlier in the week.

“Much of the area is still under water and the full extent of the damages will not be known until the water starts to recede,” a MassDOT spokesperson said Friday night. “Message boards and other safety devices are being deployed at this time to advise the public of the closure.”

Route 5 was closed between Old Main Street in Deerfield and Cheapside Bridge in Greenfield, according to state officials. The road has been closed periodically over the past week as a result of flooding, which expanded Friday.

Route 116 was also reported to be flooded Friday near Hadfield Road in Deerfield. The road in Deerfield was expected to remain closed until the end of Saturday after “severe weather led to flooding and road conditions need to be evaluated,” the MassDOT spokesperson said.

Western Massachusetts has been battered by rain and floods over the past two weeks. Gov. Maura Healey on Thursday announced a private fundraiser for farms dealing with the fallout of the storms.

Storms have caused roughly $15 million in damages to about 2,000 acres of farmland in the state.

“The flooding resulted in tremendous devastation, devastation to farms, devastation to the crops, devastation to personnel and employees and payroll, devastation to infrastructure,” Healey said at an event in Easthampton.