Some boats had been pulled, others tied a little tighter, and the watchful eyes of Vineyarders were on reports from the National Hurricane Center.
As the Times went to press Wednesday evening, Tropical Storm Jose, which had a target on the Cape and Islands since Saturday, was pounding the coast of Martha’s Vineyard with heavy surf, but the rain and 45- to 60-mph winds originally forecast for Wednesday hadn’t materialized. According to the most recent advisory, those were now possible on Thursday, according to the National Weather Service. Forecasters are saying the effects will be similar to a nor’easter.
There were a smattering of closings, some ferry runs were either diverted or canceled, but for the most part, life went on. Chappaquiddick and Norton Point beaches were closed to oversand vehicles.
Eversource sent six line trucks and two tree crews to the Island ahead of the storm, spokeswoman Priscilla Ress wrote in an email. As of press time, there was a single outage reported on the Eversource online map, in West Tisbury.
Ahead of the storm, surfers were enjoying the up-Island swells Tuesday off Moshup Beach.
On Monday afternoon, Vineyarders made preparations for the incoming storm by readying their boats, houses, and other property. Boat owner Elizabeth McBride secured her boat, paddleboard, and kayaks by taking them out of the Vineyard Haven Lagoon.
Ms. McBride said she lost a boat during Superstorm Sandy, and didn’t want to take any risks with her new Boston Whaler, New Day. “It’s better to be safe than sorry,” she said. “We won’t be making the same mistake this time.”
Chris Stanley and Kristina Eramo were cutting flowers and helping their friend batten down the hatches on her waterfront property in East Chop on Monday. Homeowners brought in patio furniture, replaced screens with storm windows, and took down their docks in preparation for rain and high winds.
On Tuesday afternoon, a half-dozen kitesurfers enjoyed the strong, steady winds on Sengekontacket Pond, while dozens of people watched from their dry cars.
At Lucy Vincent Beach in Chilmark Wednesday, where people clutched cameras, a sign warned of the dangerous surf. “Conditions not really apparent,” the sign read. “Swim at own risk of possible drowning.”
When the storm made landfall on Wednesday, it was business as usual on most Vineyard roads. A section of East Chop Drive was blocked off in anticipation of washed-out roads, but the preparation proved needless throughout the day.
Testing the old adage the worse the weather, the better the fishing, Mia Stromberg and Heidi Wild were fishing off a jetty at Little Bridge in Oak Bluffs Wednesday.
The blustery winds, which caused ferries to be diverted from Oak Bluffs to Vineyard Haven, were a boon to a trio of kitesurfers on Sengekontacket. Rob Courcier of Oak Bluffs and Morgan Douglas were among the group to take advantage of the gusts. As waves pummeled the shore of State Beach, only a few yards away, they gracefully cut back and forth across the pond.
Wednesday morning, a small group gathered at Squibnocket Beach just after high tide to watch the waves pound against the revetment. A vacant SUV parked too close was sprayed continuously with salt spray.
Over the weekend, there was initially some concern that Jose could pass over the Island as a Category 1 hurricane. That was one of three scenarios given by the National Hurricane Center, though by Monday most forecasts were showing the storm staying to the east of Nantucket and weakening to tropical storm strength as it entered much colder waters.
The U.S. Coast Guard issued warnings to mariners, and the Island Queen shut down operation of its ferries between Martha’s Vineyard and Falmouth for three days beginning Tuesday. Friday’s schedule is up in the air, and travelers are encouraged to watch the Island Queen website. The Steamship Authority diverted boats beginning Tuesday from Oak Bluffs, which is unsheltered, to its Vineyard Haven terminal, and began canceling some of its ferry trips on Tuesday and into Wednesday. The SSA website has an alert that suggest ferry service may not be back to normal until Friday.
Times reporters George Brennan, Stacey Rupolo, Rich Saltzberg, and Barry Stringfellow contributed to this report.