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Seacoast racked by blizzard, high tide

Sunday News Correspondent

February 10. 2013 12:35AM
Rocks of all sizes washed onto Route 1A in North Hampton at the time of high tide Saturday. (JASON SCHREIBER/Union Leader Correspondent)

Saturday morning's high tide created headaches for coastal residents and highway workers alike as a 10-foot tide and storm surge, kicked up by the ferocious blizzard, hurled water, rocks, lobster traps and other debris over seawalls onto Route 1A.

The storm also caused additional flooding in marsh areas.

Portions of Route 1A from Hampton to Rye were littered with debris, forcing highway crews to bring in bucket loaders and other equipment to clean up the mess.

A barrier made of rocks and sand constructed to protect against coastal flooding on Route 1A was partially washed away along areas of North Hampton and Rye.

Also, sections of Route 1A were closed because of the debris and flooding.

"We're trying to keep onlookers out of there so the crews can get it cleaned up in a timely fashion," said Rye police Cpl. Mark Webster.

Hampton Police Chief Jamie Sullivan said the floodwaters were slow to recede because they were blocked by snow banks and clogged drains.

Plow trucks were used to push the water off the roadways before it froze.

However, Sullivan said it didn't appear that any roads in Hampton were damaged by the flooding.

As crews cleaned up, Kalley Mihalko, 31, took several breaks while digging her Cadillac CTS out of a snow drift at least 3-feet deep.

Mihalko, who lives on Ocean Boulevard in Hampton, said she's never seen so much snow from a storm.

"The wind was whipping through here. It was pretty intense," she said. "This is the worst storm I've ever seen."

By Saturday afternoon, dozens of other vehicles remained buried under massive drifts along Hampton Beach, where snow continued to swirl in the mean winds.

Althought the blizzard was intense, Hampton Fire Chief Chris Silver said firefighters had an "uneventful" night because people stayed off the roads during the worst of the storm.

Firefighters made a few runs early Friday night, but Silver said they "never went anywhere" after midnight.

"People actually stayed home, which was a good thing," he said. "I think this is the kind of event where people are being smart. They knew it was going to be a significant event," he said."

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