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Coastal flooding forces road closures

By Jason Schreiber
Union Leader Correspondent

January 03. 2014 9:10PM
At Hampton Beach, storm surge flooded Ashworth Ave and a number of side streets. (John Kane/Hampton Beach Village District)

Large waves kicked up by a two-day nor'easter flooded several streets along the coast Friday.

Astronomical high tides combined with the powerful ocean storm to create a mess on Route 1A in Hampton, North Hampton and Rye around the time of high tide.

Friday's astronomical tide around noon in Hampton was forecast to be near its 11-foot flood stage with a one-foot storm surge.

In Rye, a car became stuck in the flooding on Route 1A near Rye Harbor State Park, but the driver was rescued and the car was towed away.

"The water was up to the floorboards of the car, and the car had stopped working," Rye Police Chief Kevin Walsh said.

The fire department was called in and used one of its trucks to reach the driver. His car was later towed out of the water.

"When people see water on the roadway, they need to be patient and take another route rather than just drive through it. You just don't know how deep it is," Walsh said.

Crews also had to make repairs to the Foss Beach seawall in Rye. The seawall is a shale pile that was damaged by wind and water splashing over and through it, Walsh said.

Flooded areas that prompted some temporary closures or restricted traffic in Hampton included Route 1A (Ocean Boulevard) northbound between Church Street and Winnacunnet Road; High Street; Ashworth Avenue from G Street to J Street; Brown Avenue; and a section of Route 1 was reduced to one lane just north of the Hampton Falls town line.

Hampton Police Chief Jamie Sullivan said the area experienced moderate splashover.

Snow banks blocked the floodwater from receding and caused some of it to drain differently, he said.

Sullivan said it would take several hours for the water to recede.

As the water levels subsided, several sections along Route 1A and other beach roads remained caked in thick slush. Friday's frigid temperatures also caused water to freeze over railings, seawalls and signs along the areas impacted by the splashover, creating a thick coating of ice.

NH Department of Transportation spokesman Bill Boynton said drivers in the state should expect to see snow-covered roads into midday today. He said temperatures need to reach into the mid- to upper teens before roads can be salted.

Closures are expected soon on the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge to allow for snow removal.

Weather Seacoast Hampton North Hampton Rye

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