Hurricane Irene updates: Latest storm news and cancellations

Hurricane Irene updates: Latest storm news and cancellations

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At 2 pm, Irene was about ten miles south of Pittsfield and moving briskly toward Eastern Canada. — Photo by NOAA.

The Martha’s Vineyard Times will post updates on hurricane Irene as she moves up the coast, including information about Island preparations for the storm and notices of ferry cancellations as they become available.

Highlights

Portions of Chilmark, including Menemsha, are without power. Reports of trees down but no major damage.

Edgartown shelter will close at 4 pm today. Dock Street and Main Street are reopened. Intermittent power outages reported across the Island.

Access to Oak Bluffs from Edgartown via Beach Rd is closed due to washover in Oak Bluffs at Seaview, Edgartown reported.

Camp Street in Vineyard Haven is blocked by a large bush that blew down into the road.

Atlantic Drive is impassable. South Beach (web cam view) is closed. 9 am Sunday, Edgartown advisory, see below.

The latest radar loop shows the heaviest rain to the west of Martha’s Vineyard.

The Steamship Authority will suspend service Sunday.

The Tisbury Emergency Management team issued a travel advisory for Sunday between the hours of 6 am and 10 pm. Residents are asked to keep off the roads.

1:55 pm. An alert for Edgartown properties on grinder pumps, if electric power fails. See below.

Due to dangerous conditions, South Beach is now closed to swimming – Adam Darack, Edgartown IT manager announced at 1:04 pm, Saturday.

Tropical storm conditions are expected Sunday, with hurricane conditions possible. The National Weather Service predicts south wind south wind 40 to 50 mph, with gusts as high as 75 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100 percent.

Island towns go it alone to send Code Red messages.

The Chappy Ferry will suspend service at 6 pm, Saturday and resume Monday morning.

Public shelters will open at 4 pm, Saturday, in four Island towns.

The Steamship Authority will cease service on Sunday, resume Monday.

Friday, Governor Patrick declared a state of emergency.

Hurricane force winds are expected for a period of about 6 hours on Sunday afternoon and evening. Coastal flooding and erosion is a serious concern.

Travelers advised to leave Island early and be off roads by dark on Saturday.

President Obama departed Martha’s Vineyard Friday evening.

The state declared shellfish beds closed Sunday until further notice.

Details

9 am, Sunday

With the arrival of the storm this morning, the Town of Edgartown has issued a travel advisory from 8 AM to midnight. In addition to safety concerns with vehicles on the roads during those hours, staying off the roads will allow the appropriate crews to handle downed branches, trees, and power lines.

If your power goes out, please call NSTAR at 1-800-592-2000. STAY AWAY FROM DOWNED WIRES. Assume all downed wires are “live” and stay away. Call NSTAR if you see a downed wire – again, their number is 1-800-592-2000.

At the present time Atlantic Drive in Katama is impassible and closed due to washover. South Beach is closed due to treacherous conditions.

The Edgartown School shelter is open. If you need assistance getting to the shelter, call the Edgartown Police Department at 508-627-4343, extension zero.

Updates will continue to be posted to the town website at www.edgartown-ma.us and via text messages through the town’s urgent text notification system. To join this text notification system, text the word Alert to 68398. Again, to join this text notification system, text the word Alert to 68398.

In the case of a true emergency, dial 911.

Hurricane Irene Information Update

With the arrival of the storm this morning, the Town of Edgartown has issued a travel advisory from 8 AM to midnight. In addition to safety concerns with vehicles on the roads during those hours, staying off the roads will allow the appropriate crews to handle downed branches, trees, and power lines.

If your power goes out, please call NSTAR at 1-800-592-2000. STAY AWAY FROM DOWNED WIRES. Assume all downed wires are “live” and stay away. Call NSTAR if you see a downed wire – again, their number is 1-800-592-2000.

At the present time Atlantic Drive in Katama is impassible and closed due to washover. South Beach is closed due to treacherous conditions.

The Edgartown School shelter is open. If you need assistance getting to the shelter, call the Edgartown Police Department at 508-627-4343, extension zero.

Updates will continue to be posted to the town website at www.edgartown-ma.us and via text messages through the town’s urgent text notification system. To join this text notification system, text the word Alert to 68398. Again, to join this text notification system, text the word Alert to 68398.

In the case of a true emergency, dial 911.

Hurricane Irene Update from the Town of Edgartown

With the arrival of the storm this morning, the Town of Edgartown has issued a travel advisory from 8 AM to midnight. In addition to safety concerns with vehicles on the roads during those hours, staying off the roads will allow the appropriate crews to handle downed branches, trees, and power lines.

If your power goes out, please call NSTAR at 1-800-592-2000. STAY AWAY FROM DOWNED WIRES. Assume all downed wires are “live” and stay away. Call NSTAR if you see a downed wire – again, their number is 1-800-592-2000.

At the present time Atlantic Drive in Katama is impassible and closed due to washover. South Beach is closed due to treacherous conditions.

The Edgartown School shelter is open. If you need assistance getting to the shelter, call the Edgartown Police Department at 508-627-4343, extension zero.

Updates will continue to be posted to the town website at www.edgartown-ma.us and via text messages through the town’s urgent text notification system. To join this text notification system, text the word Alert to 68398. Again, to join this text notification system, text the word Alert to 68398.

In the case of a true emergency, dial 911.

5:30 pm, Saturday

“The Steamship Authority expects to complete all of its scheduled trips on both the Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket routes through the end of the day on Saturday,” SSA General Manager Wayne Lamson said in a press release.

“The Steamship Authority is suspending all ferry service for both Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket on Sunday as Hurricane Irene passes through western New England. Tropical storm force winds are expected to arrive in our area before daybreak on Sunday, with the possibility of hurricane force wind during the afternoon.

“U.S Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England is expected to reopen all of the ports in the southeastern New England region on Monday. The Authority anticipates that it will be resuming its normal operating schedule as soon as the ports are reopened on Monday.

“The Steamship Authority advises its customers to check the Authority’s website, www.steamshipauthority.com, for the latest updates and information as to when service is expect to resume.”

2:58 pm, Saturday

The Town of Tisbury Board of Selectmen in conjunction with the Emergency Management Department announced that the Tisbury shelter will be opening today, August 27th at 4:00 pm and will stay open until 9 am on Monday August 29th. The shelter is located inside the Tisbury Elementary School at 40 West William St.; any resident(s) in need of shelter should bring all necessary supplies including medications, blankets & pillows to this location. The shelter is located inside the gymnasium of the Tisbury Elementary School. Pets may be brought to the shelter however, such pets will not be allowed in the actual shelter and will be transferred to the Town’s Animal Control Facility located on High Point Ln.. The ACO facility will be monitored by the Town’s Animal Control Officer and the facility is equipped with indoor /outdoor kennels.

The Tisbury Emergency Management team also issued a travel advisory for August 28th between the hours of 6 am and 10 pm. The town is asking residents to please refrain from driving their vehicles in and around town during this time due to the high probability of fallen trees and downed live power lines. Additionally, in an emergency, town first responder personnel will need to have minimal traffic to navigate through as roads may be blocked due to a variety of weather related obstacles.

Although the direction of the storm appears to be tracking on a path that will avoid a direct hit on Martha’s Vineyard, residents should still monitor their radio and the Town website for further updates and emergency information.

1:55 pm, Saturday

Hurricane update from the Town of Edgartown

This is a message to properties and only properties on grinder pumps.

If during the upcoming hurricane you should experience a loss of power at your home or establishment it will be important that you use as little water as possible during that time. Once power is restored your grinder pump in your yard will begin to work properly again. Your electrical panel on the side of your home may be making a buzzing or ringing sound once power is restored if after 10 minutes this sound doesn’t stop please call 508-627-5482 and leave a message with your name, street address and telephone number. We will have crews available during the duration of the storm and messages left will be addressed. Thank you for your patience and understanding during this event.

– Adam Darack, IT Manager

5:30 PM, Friday

Unable to agree on a unified message, Island towns began issuing Code Red messages.

Edgartown

“Hurricane Irene Update from the Town of Edgartown: Although the projected path of the storm is significantly west of Martha’s Vineyard, updates will happen via the town of Edgartown’s urgent notification system and all pertinent information will be posted to the town of Edgartown’s website, which is www.edgartown-ma.us. To join this notification system, text the word alert to 68398 or sign up on the town website. In the event of an emergency, please dial 911.”

“This is an updated message from the town of Edgartown regarding hurricane Irene the Chappy ferry will be stopping operations at 6 pm on Saturday, resuming operations at approximately 8 am on Monday.

The Red Cross will be opening a shelter at the Edgartown School at 4 pm on Saturday. If you need to go to the shelter, please bring blankets, pillows, and a few days worth of medications. Pets are welcome but must be in crates.

We recommend that you have all of your preparations completed by late Saturday afternoon.

Please check the town of Edgartown website at www.edgartown-ma.us for more detailed information. Information is also available by text message. If you are not already on the town’s urgent notification text list, please text alert to 68398 to receive those messages. Again, please text alert to 68398 to receive those messages. If you have a true emergency, please call 911.”

West Tisbury

“This is hurricane information from West Tisbury Emergency Management. Although Hurricane Irene may pass well to the west of us, the storm could still pack dangerous winds, surf, riptides, and heavy rain, with the rain starting as early as Saturday. Hurricanes are fickle, and forecasting even three days out can have a large margin of error. Hurricanes always bring the potential for widespread power outages, roads blocked by fallen trees, and flooding from rain or ocean storm surge.Check your hurricane emergency kit, which should include 3 days of water and non-perishable foods, two weeks worth of important medication, flashlight and battery powered radio at least. Check the West Tisbury website emergency management page to find emergency preparedness info, or go to the federal site at FEMA.gov (F E M A. gov) for more detailed instruction. You can also follow me on Twitter at westisburyemd.”

4:30 pm, Friday

Edgartown announced that the Chappy ferry will suspend operations at 6 pm, Saturday and resume service at approximately 8 am, Monday morning.

The Edgartown School will be open as a shelter at 4 pm, Saturday. Pets are welcome but must be in crates. Shelter seekers are asked to bring their own blankets, pillows, and a few days’ supply of any medications needed.

3:40 pm, Friday

3:30 pm, Friday

In a conference call Friday, Steamship Authority general manager Wayne Lamson told Island emergency planners that, based on the timing and track of hurricane Irene, it does not appear the boatline will operate on Sunday.

Mr. Lamson said that vehicle owners with reservations affected by cancellations would have priority when service resumes on Monday, based on the order of cancellations.

He said the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School may be used to stage vehicles, depending on the degree of congestion at the Vineyard Haven terminal. The status of the Oak Bluffs terminal will depend on weather and sea conditions he said.

“We will have to play it trip by trip,” he said.

3:30 pm, Friday

With hurricane Irene tracking toward New England and expected to make landfall over the weekend, Gov. Deval Patrick on Friday declared a state of emergency, immediately activating 500 National Guard troops with an additional 2,000 troops expected to be deployed by Saturday morning, according to the State House News Service.

“We expect this to be a powerful and potentially dangerous storm,” Patrick said during a press conference at the headquarters of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency in Framingham.

The governor urged residents to stay off the roads for the duration of the storm, which he said is expected to begin late Saturday with heavy rain before the hurricane reaches Massachusetts early Sunday. He suggested residents with travel plans for the weekend leave Friday, if possible, to beat the storm.

Hurricane Irene, currently a massive Category 2 hurricane with sustained winds of 105 miles-per-hour with gusts up to 125 miles-per-hour, is expected to make landfall early Sunday with torrential rains preceding the storm’s arrival. Irene may be downgraded to a Category 1 hurricane by the time it reaches the Bay State, according to weather reports, but officials are still warning residents to stay home this weekend and “prepare for the worst,” forecasting downed power lines and trees, flooding and strong storm surges along the coast.

The National Weather Service has issued a hurricane watch for coastal Massachusetts and a tropical storm warning for inland Massachusetts, along with flood watches for the entire state. Governor Patrick said he expected as much as 10 inches of rain in parts of the state, particularly west of the eye of the hurricane which is expected to pass over the Springfield area.

The last time a hurricane of this magnitude hit Massachusetts was in 1991 when Hurricane Bob blew through the state.

MEMA Director Kurt Schwartz said that state and federal agencies – more than 30 in total – are preparing for the storm to impact all regions of the state, with rainfall expected to be heaviest in western Massachusetts and stronger winds predicted in the eastern portion of the state.

“We are planning for an event that is a statewide event. We’re planning for major flooding to occur to the left of the storm track and an extensive wind event to the right of the track and strong storm surge damage on our southern coastal facing areas,” Schwartz said.

Governor Patrick, who dined with President Barack Obama and Mrs. Michelle Obama on Martha’s Vineyard Thursday evening, said his administration has already filed a pre-landfall federal disaster declaration that would expedite federal assistance when the cleanup efforts begin. The governor said he had spoken with the president and Homeland Security Director Janet Napolitano about storm preparation and the disaster declaration.

1:30 pm, Friday

West Tisbury emergency management director John Christensen chaired a meeting of Island emergency management officials at noon, Friday.

The meeting included a conference call with state and federal officials. MEMA director Kurt Schwartz said he is hoping the message delivered across the Commonwealth is that people need to be hunkered down in a safe shelter by Saturday night. He advised that everyone be off the roads by dark on Saturday night. “We’re particularly concerned with people who may want to leave, visitors who think they can get on road tomorrow afternoon to head back to CT or NY – they may be driving back into the storm. If people have plans to be on road this weekend, they should be getting on the road today and getting home –not getting on the road tomorrow and trying to get home.”

Three trailer loads of water for use by up-Island residents, who rely on wells, will arrive Saturday, along with two trailer loads of tarps to cover any roofs that are damaged in the storm, according to emergency officials.

National Weather Service meteorologist Robert (Bob) Thompson said, “We are going to get Irene, it’s just going to be a matter of exactly just how strong and just where some of the hazards will be.”

Mr. Thompson said it is important to have preparations completed by Saturday night, because the tropical storm winds will likely arrive along the south shore not too long after daybreak, and if the hurricane accelerates, maybe sooner. Hurricane force winds are expected for a period of about 6 hours on Sunday afternoon and evening, he said.

Mr. Thompson said coastal flooding and erosion is a serious concern.

1:30 pm, Friday

Deputy press secretary Josh Earnest announced the president will leave Martha’s Vineyard this evening. He said the president decided it would be more prudent to be in the White House.

11:40 am, Friday

The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries Friday ordered shellfishing in state waters to be closed, beginning Sunday until further notice.

“All waters of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will likely no longer meet the requirements for an open status due to anticipated unacceptable water quality resulting from predicted heavy rain, storm surge and coastal flooding from Hurricane Irene,” DMF said in a legal notice emailed to The Times.

“Digging, harvesting or collecting and/or attempting to dig, harvest or collect shellfish and the possession of shellfish is prohibited,” the notice said.

The closing will remain in effect until DMF announces it is lifted.

8 am, Friday

The National Hurricane Center issued a hurricane watch for all of coastal Massachusetts, including Martha’s Vineyard in its 8 am bulletin Friday morning.

The hurricane watch extends from Sandy Hook, New Jersey, to the mouth of the Merrimack River in Newburyport.

A tropical storm watch is in effect for inland parts of the state.

Hurricane Irene is predicted to skirt the coast of North Carolina tomorrow as a Category 2 or 3 hurricane, then accelerate quickly while gradually weakening.

Forecasters anticipate tropical storm force winds will arrive on Martha’s Vineyard some time Sunday morning, and continue through midnight.

At 8 am Friday, Irene was off the northern coast of Florida, with sustained winds of 110 miles per hour, moving due north at 14 miles per hour.

A hurricane watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area, according to the National Weather Service. A watch is typically issued 48 hours before tropical storm force winds reach the watch area, making outside preparations dangerous or difficult.

7 pm, Thursday

The Rhode Island Fast Ferry will discontinue ferry service to and from the Martha’s Vineyard on Friday afternoon.

“Our last two departures from the Island will be at noon and 2 pm, Friday, and we will board the ferry on a first come first served basis,” Charles Donadio, president of the ferry line, said in an email to The Times late Thursday.

“We will continue to update our website throughout the storm and anticipate resuming ferry service sometime on Monday or Tuesday unless we encounter major damage to our facility in Rhode Island.”

More information is available at www.vineyardfastferry.com.