Boats Rescue Stranded Office Workers and Residents as 'Bomb Cyclone' Slams Boston with Record Flooding

Boston was hit hard Thursday by the much-anticipated 'bomb cyclone.'
Boston firefighters found a stalled car downtown and carried the driver to safety.Boston Fire Department

The snow was bad enough, but record-setting tides plunged Massachusetts coast with record flooding.

The feared "bomb cyclone" surged up the Eastern coast Thursday and slammed into Boston, unleashing treacherous, recording-setting flooding that swamped downtown, leaving office workers trapped and drivers marooned in freezing waters chock-full of ice floes.

Rescuers used boats to pluck people from hi-rises and floating cars as snow and driving winds brought more misery.

In nearby Lowell, a Massachusetts State Police trooper dangled from a helicopter to rescue a man from the frigid Merrimack River in a rescue police Lt. Donald Crawford described as "truly heroic," the Lowell Sun reported. Earlier attempts to reach the man by boat failed because of ice blocks and debris in the churning water.

While sea water carried dumpsters and blocks of ice through Boston streets, the National Weather Service reported water levels had reached or surpassed records set in the Blizzard of 78 and an earlier flood in 1921.

The subway's Aquarium Station was closed after sea water came gushing down the stairs. Coastal areas up and down the state reported major flooding, as did vacation favorites including Cape Cod.

 Boston Harbor was filled with huge chunks of ice, suspending ferry service. 

 The Weather Service said the worst coastal flooding appeared to be over by Thursday evening, as the massive, fast-moving storm churned north. But residents were warned the water would drain slowly and could turn to ice as temperatures plunged in the coming days.

More than 20,000 people were without power in the state.

People were warned to stay inside, with their pets, while workers battled flooding and tried to remove snow. In a town that loves its hockey, the Boston Bruins game was canceled Thursday evening.

From Florida to Maine, the brutal punch of the so-called "bomb cyclone" closed schools and roads while delivering snow, ice and blistering winds. At least four deaths have been attributed to the devastating storm. More than 4,000 flights were reported canceled, with 600 more expected to be abandoned on Friday.