Storm’s effects still being felt

Warming shelters are available and what you should do to prepare.

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We will update this throughout the day, as we receive cancellations and notices. Please send anything we’ve missed to editor@mvtimes.com.

The first ferry of the morning is leaving Woods Hole. The Island Home left the docks at 8:22 am loaded with delivery trucks and commuters. Based on the choppy look in Woods Hole, this promises to be a rocking ride to Vineyard Haven.

While the Chappy Ferry is back in service, Friday is starting with more cancellations of Steamship Authority ferries. The following trips have been canceled:

M/V KATAMA 6:30AM Woods Hole to Vineyard Haven

M/V ISLAND HOME 6:00AM Woods Hole to Vineyard Haven

M/V ISLAND HOME 7:00AM Vineyard Haven to Woods Hole

M/V KATAMA 7:30AM Vineyard Haven to Woods Hole

Martha’s Vineyard Public Schools will have a two-hour delay Friday morning.

This is the latest update from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency:

Flash freezing remains a risk into this evening for Cape/Islands as well as parts of far southeast coastal Plymouth County as rain changes to snow with rapidly falling temperatures. A flash freeze may occur resulting in very hazardous travel.

Strong wind gusts of 50 to 70 mph will continue along the east coast into this evening. A High Wind Warning remains in effect until 1 pm for the Cape/Islands. Windy conditions, with gusts of 30 to 40 mph, will occur for all of southern New England, especially along the coastline, into Friday.

The coastal flooding that has occurred will likely take hours to days to drain in some areas; the main concern is standing water that will freeze due to the expected drop in temperature this evening and into the weekend.

Following the storm, very cold Arctic air will be drawn across the region Friday through Sunday. Extreme cold conditions expected with temperatures in the single digits or lower; wind chills well below zero.

Check out these wind gusts in the MEMA update. Many of the top blows were here on the Island:

1207 PM: Aquinnah, MA: 61 MPH Gust
117 PM: Nantucket, MA: 76 MPH Gust
120 PM: Agawam, MA: 53 MPH Gust
125 PM: Aquinnah, MA: 66 MPH Gust
150 PM: Aquinnah, MA: 67 MPH Gust
200 PM: Edgartown, MA: 64 MPH Gust
202 PM: Vineyard Haven, MA: 61 MPH Gust
217 PM: Mashpee, MA: 59 MPH Gust
218 PM: Edgartown, MA: 65 MPH Gust

So much for Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station’s plans to stay online during the storm, as we reported earlier in this thread. At 2:09 p.m. today, Pilgrim operators manually shut down (scrammed) the reactor after one of the two 345-kilovolt lines that provide power from the grid to the facility became unavailable, according to Neil Sheehan, a spokesman for the NRC. Off-site power from the second 345-kilovolt line and a 23-kilovolt line is still in service.

Pilgrim spokesman Patrick O’Brien issued the following statement: “Pilgrim Station was manually removed from service, in accordance with station procedure, at 2:09 pm on January 4, 2018, due to the loss of one of the two off-site lines that allow Pilgrim to feed power to the grid.  We are working to determine the cause of the line loss. Pilgrim had been safely operating for 227 consecutive days following the completion of our most recent refueling outage in May 2017. We will take this opportunity to conduct preventive maintenance that we could not otherwise perform with the plant operating at full power.  When Pilgrim will return to 100 percent power is considered business sensitive, and we do not disclose that information.”

West Tisbury police say that Scotchman’s Bridge Lane reopened as of 3:53 pm after a tree that had fallen across the road was cleared. The massive pine covered both lanes of traffic on the street, according to a post on the police department’s Facebook page.

Franklin Street in Tisbury was closed at around 2:30 pm because of a downed tree, according to the town’s website.

Well, you knew it couldn’t last. Eversource’s outage map is now reported 97 customers are without electricity in West Tisbury.

We have the following update from meteorologist Alan Dunham from the National Weather Service in Taunton: It’s snowing currently on the Vineyard. He does not expect it to change back to sleet or rain. A high wind warning remans in effect until 1 am. Currently seeing a wind range on the Cape and Islands between 50 to 70 mph. The total snowfall expected for this afternoon and this evening is 3-to-5 inches. Snow will be heavy and wet. The storm track is not expected to change now. Temperatures will cross the freezing mark in the late afternoon. Tonight’s low is 18. Friday’s high is 19. Then temperatures plummet to a Friday night low of 7 and a Saturday high of 12. Saturday night low 0 to 5. Snow not immediately shoveled from walkways etc. will “freeze where it sits” tonight.

Lake Avenue in Oak Bluffs is closed between Dukes County Avenue and Circuit Avenue until 4 pm. The western entrance to East Chop Drive at Temahigan Avenue is closed until 4 pm.

Remarkably, as of 11:55 am, there was not a single power outage reported on Martha’s Vineyard on Eversource’s outage map. There are scattered outages all across the Cape and southeastern Massachusetts. (Hope we didn’t jinx it.)

The Vineyard Transit Authority has cancelled Route 5 service, West Tisbury to Aquinnah. Route 13 (VH-OB-ET) service is reoriented, taking a “backway” route due to Beach Road closures, according to Darren Morris, VTA general manager.

Martha’s Vineyard Airport remains open, assist manager Geoff Freeman said, but as of last night Cape Air cancelled all flights. No flights of any kind have taken off or landed at airport today, he said. If the airport does close, medical flights will still be able to land if need be. “We will maintain the airport for medflights throughout the storm,” he said.

Lapels Dry Cleaning in Vineyard Haven will be closing at 12 pm today and will reopen at 7am Friday.

MARTHA’S VINEYARD SERVICE UPDATE
The Steamship Authority has suspended all of today’s remaining ferry service for Martha’s Vineyard. Ferry service for Martha’s Vineyard is expected to resume Friday on a trip-by-trip basis as soon as the wind and sea conditions improve.

Several businesses are also closing today. Cape Cod Five in Vineyard Haven is closing at 11 am. Rockland Trust was already closed.

Meanwhile, Offshore Ale in Oak Bluffs is closed for lunch and dinner.

No big surprise here, flooding has claimed its latest road closing victim. Beach Road in Vineyard Haven is now closed from Beach Road to the Lagoon Drawbridge. Heavy rain is now turning to a combination of sleet and big flakes of snow, according to staff reports.

Edgartown town hall, library and council on aging will all be closing at 11 am today.

The Community Supper at St. Augustine’s Church in Vineyard Haven is canceled tonight.
Suppers will begin on Thursday, Jan. 11, at 5 pm.

There is one significant non-closing today. The winter storm lashing the Cape and Vineyard isn’t severe enough to trigger a shutdown of Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station, an Entergy spokesman Patrick O’Brien wrote to The Times this morning.

“In accordance with our station procedures, the current forecasted conditions for the upcoming winter storm do not meet the criteria for a preemptive shutdown of Pilgrim Station,” he wrote. “We continue to conduct storm preparations for the site and monitor National Weather Service’s projections for our area.  Should conditions change we will follow our storm procedure to determine if a shutdown is necessary.”

There are some road closings to report, as well. Beach Road will be closed from Canonicus Avenue to Bend in the Road in Edgartown at 10 am

East Chop Drive will be closed between Munroe Avenue and Brewster Avenue.

The Steamship Authority is waving the white flag. SSA just issued this alert.

NANTUCKET SERVICE UPDATE
The Steamship Authority has suspended all of today’s remaining ferry service for Nantucket.
Ferry service for Nantucket will resume as soon as the wind and sea conditions improve.

MARTHA’S VINEYARD SERVICE UPDATE
The Steamship Authority has temporarily suspended its ferry service on the Martha’s Vineyard route due to high winds and rough seas. Ferry service for Martha’s Vineyard may resume today on a trip-by-trip basis if the wind and sea conditions improve.

The Aquinnah board of selectmen have canceled a meeting scheduled for this afternoon. No new date has been set.

Oak Bluffs town offices are closing at noon.

Power outages have begun on the Island. There are 31 customers without power in West Tisbury, according to the Eversource outage map. Eversource told The Times ahead of the storm that it was sending additional line and tree crews to the Vineyard to deal with outages.

The Chilmark Library is also closed today.

The Town of Tisbury offices are closing before noon today, according to an email. The Vineyard Haven Library already sent out an email saying it was closed.

From the Steamship Authority, M/V WOODS HOLE 9:30AM Woods Hole to Vineyard Haven

M/V WOODS HOLE 10:45AM Vineyard Haven to Woods Hole

Also, Edgartown police sent out a text that the Chappy Ferry has stopped running due to high wind, tides, and ice. It will be potentially out of service all day, according to the text.

Due to the storm, all Martha’s Vineyard Savings Bank branches will be closing at noon today. We will continue to monitor conditions and provide updates to any earlier or additional closings.

Updated 8:25 am

Due to weather, MV Playhouse is canceling its Poetry Cafe.

The West Tisbury Library will be closed all day today, as well.

Updated 8:10 am

Vineyard Haven Public Library will be closed for the day and all
programs and meetings cancelled.

Updated 8:06 am

Gov. Charlie Baker, wearing a gray quarter-zip sweater,  gave an update this morning asking people to continue to stay off the roads today.

“We can’t say this enough, don’t crowd the plow,” Gov. Baker said.

There is a big risk for coastal flooding on the South Shore and Cape, he said.

Updated 7:48 am

The Steamship Authority has begun to cancel its ferry trips. The following trips have been canceled because of weather conditions. The SSA urges travelers to check all boats before leaving home.

M/V ISLAND HOME 8:15AM Woods Hole to Vineyard Haven

M/V ISLAND HOME 9:30AM Vineyard Haven to Woods Hole

M/V SANKATY 8:35AM Woods Hole to Vineyard Haven

M/V SANKATY 9:50AM Vineyard Haven to Woods Hole

For more information, please call 508.548.3788 or 508.693.0367

or visit  steamshipauthority.com/traveling_today/status

Updated 7:34 am

The National Weather Service in Taunton has tweeted a 47 mph wind gust in Aquinnah and a 54 mph wind gust in Woods Hole already this morning.

Updated Jan. 4 at 6:50 am

Martha’s Vineyard Regional Schools and Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School are canceled for the day, which means the town of West Tisbury offices are also closed. The town announced yesterday it would follow the school district’s lead.

The Steamship Authority has begun to cancel its ferry trips. The following trips have been canceled because of weather conditions:

M/V SANKATY 6:15AM Woods Hole to Vineyard Haven

M/V SANKATY 7:20AM Vineyard Haven to Woods Hole

M/V WOODS HOLE 7:00AM Woods Hole to Vineyard Haven

M/V WOODS HOLE 8:15AM Vineyard Haven to Woods Hole

Also, Massachusetts courts, including Edgartown District Court, are closed on Thursday “in the interest of public and staff safety due to the severe winter storm predicted to impact all regions.”

Those with cases scheduled are instructed to contact the appropriate court clerks once the courthouse reopens.

Updated 4:15 pm

At 2 pm on Wednesday, town officials and first responders from all six towns, Dukes County, and Martha’s Vineyard Hospital met with officials from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and Eversource, via teleconference, to plan for the major winter storm predicted for Thursday, and for the record-breaking freeze predicted for this weekend.

Oak Bluffs Fire Chief John Rose said the group will reconvene on Thursday at 2 pm to re-evaluate the situation.

At 4:28 pm on Wednesday, the National Weather Service (NWS) issued a high wind warning for Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard, from 7 am Thursday to 1 am Friday, predicting northerly winds from 35 to 45 miles an hour, with gusts up to 70 miles an hour. Scattered to widespread power outages are possible.

Temperatures are predicted to peak at a balmy 37° on Thursday, and the storm will begin as rain that will turn to heavy snow as temperatures drop. Three to five inches of snow and sleet are expected.

The NWS has also posted a coastal flood warning in effect from 11 am to 4 pm on Thursday. A coastal flood warning is issued when moderate or major coastal flooding produces flooding of vulnerable shore roads and basements due to the height of the storm tide and wave action.

Thursday’s storm will be followed by another deep freeze. According to the NWS, temperatures will drop to 15° Thursday night, 6° Friday night, and 2° on Saturday night.

To prepare for winter power failure, Dukes County emergency management director Chuck Cotnoir recommends fueling vehicles two days before the predicted storm, fully charging cell phones, keeping a charger in your vehicle, planning backup shelter — friends or relatives, or town shelters — and having cash on hand. Debit cards and credit cards are useless in power outages.

More detailed winter storm preparation information can be found on the Dukes County website.

The county has limited funds to put people in local motels, should their power be out for an extended time. The program is administered by Karen Tewhey. She can be reached at 978-273-0533.

Oak Bluffs Council on Aging administrator Rose Cogliano recommends seniors plan ahead by reaching out to family, friends, and neighbors before the storm hits. This applies especially to those who rely on electric heat.

“Don’t wait until the last minute,” she said. “Make a backup plan, ideally with someone who has a wood stove or a fireplace. Also make sure you have enough perishables and basic foodstuffs for a couple of days.”

Oak Bluffs Fire Chief John Rose said first responders will likely be busy, so if people have trouble reaching their respective police or fire departments, they should call the Dukes County Communications Center, at 911, where telecommunicators can notify the appropriate department.

Shelter openings and storm-related closings will be posted at mvtimes.com. Late Wednesday, West Tisbury town administrator Jennifer Rand wrote in an email that town offices would do whatever schools do on Thursday. There was no word from the superintendent’s office by press time.

Ilona Metell, left, and Les Holcomb outside of the Good Shepherd Parish Center warming shelter in Oak Bluffs — Gabrielle Mannino

Irrespective of the weather, the Houses of Grace Island Winter Shelter Program will be providing food and shelter to Islanders in need every day from 7 pm to 7 am until March 31.

On Mondays and and Thursdays, guests will be served at the Federated Church, 45 South Summer St. in Edgartown.

On Wednesdays, guests will be served at St. Augustine Church, 56 Franklin St. in Tisbury.

On Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, guests will be served at St. Andrew’s Church, 34 North Summer St. in Edgartown.

Islanders interested in volunteering for the program can call Father Chip Seadale at St. Andrew’s Church at 508-627-5330.

 

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