Boston North Shore Study

Regional Saugus River Floodgate Project - Everett, Lynn, Malden, Revere and Saugus, Massachusetts

Problem Identification

Blizzard of '78

4,000 evacuated; 10,000 residents & 20,000 employees & 400,000 commuters affected.
Homes burned as roads not accessible.  Almost $300 million in recurring damages.

Today frequent flooding and higher storm levels aggravates residents due to increases from 1/2 foot of sea level rise since '78. Forecasts estimate that in 15 years another 1/2 foot in rise would cause the '78 Blizzard to become a 10 year frequency event.


Blizzard of '78 Rescue Boat Slide8


The risk of up to a 4 foot rise in sea level over the next century would be devastating to the region. 

Coastal storms are frequently accompanied by powerful and sustained winds, which may last several days, with 9 foot wave heights in Broad Sound, that drive flood waters into the Estuary and Communities up to 3 feet higher than stillwater tide levels. 




Project Area Floodplain

4 Communities: 5,000 buildings; 8,000 housing units; over 10,000 residents; 20,000 employees; 400,000 commuters; 30 miles of shorefront structures; 400 commercial and recreational vessels; 1,650 acres of salt-water Estuary;  and major arteries: US #1, 1A, 107, MBTA Blue Line and B&M Commuter Rail.

Project Area

Standard Project Northeaster (SPN)

The SPN is the worst coastal storm reasonably likely to occur in the region and would cause damages over 4 times worse than in 1978, estimated at $1.3 Billion.  The project is designed to prevent damages from this SPN storm and from sea level rise. 

The ’78 stillwater tide level was elevation 10.3 ft. NGVD in Boston and Broad Sound.  The SPN in ‘78 would have been elevation 12  & with 1 ft. sea level rise from ’78, the SPN becomes elevation 13--- 3 feet higher—supporting even higher waves! The SPN storm could occur from a high spring tide accompanied by the storm surge of record, although with sea level rise, a lower tide or surge could create the storm. With sustained and powerful winds lasting up to several days, generating up to 9 foot waves in Broad Sound, flood water is pushed up to 3 feet higher into the Estuary and communities.

Storm Stillwater Tides

Problem Identification Map

Floodplain Map:  This map delineates the 100 year (1978) floodplain and
the Standard Project Northeaster floodplain, as well as location of Project features.

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Directory of Local Reps


Definitions & Abbreviations