Recent investments protect parts of Boston from flooding, other areas still vulnerable

A storm expected to hit Massachusetts next week could bring wintry precipitation, strong winds and coastal flooding and some parts of Boston will be better protected than others.

Flooding at Long Wharf at high tide

© Stanley Forman/WCVB
Flooding at Long Wharf at high tide

StormTeam 5 Meteorologist Mike Wankum said the system is expected to arrive Sunday and last into Monday, when it will overlap with an astronomical high tide at midday.


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Wankum expects the storm will bring snow to northern New England, a mix to central Massachusetts and rain along the coast. Along with that precipitation and the high tide, the storm will also bring winds that could cause flooding on the south and east-facing coasts.

Ever since a storm brought major flooding to Boston in early 2018, investments have aimed to limit the impact of future storms.

Last month, when a storm surge covered Long Wharf, a flood wall in the North End successfully protected an area that was flooded back in 2018. The harbor wall there is now four feet higher than it was five years ago.

Investments in water resiliency have included inclined walkways and seawalls built seamlessly into the park. What can be used as a bench on a warm summer day is also a barrier blocking water from flowing inland during this winter storm.

“I think it is finding that balance of making sure that the changes we implement are helping to contribute to the city when it’s not flooding, but are protecting the city when it is,” said Alice Brown with Boston Harbor Now.

Still, many parts of the city could still use additional protection. Morrisey Boulevard, for example, floods routinely.

In East Boston, where waterfront developments are sprouting, some work is being done to protect the neighborhood, but vulnerable areas remain on either side.

Several plans are in the works to protect other vulnerable parts of Boston, but may still be a long way from completion.


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