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Updated 6:30 am Saturday to reflect developments.
As powerful winds continue to howl and rain continues, there are more than 2,000 homes and businesses without electricity, according to online outage maps.
Ferry service with the Steamship Authority, after being shutdown all day Friday, is not running at least through mid-day, although forecasters expect the storm to linger.
The National Weather Service in Taunton has reported a wind gust of 75 mph in Vineyard Haven at 6:06 pm Friday. Wind gusts of 89 mph on Nantucket and 84 mph in Woods Hole have also been reported. Hurricane force winds on the Island during this storm caused downed trees, including a massive one that toppled in the Stop & Shop parking lot in Vineyard Haven.
Fire officials in Edgartown responded Friday evening to a transformer fire between Stop & Shop and Square Rigger.
In Vineyard Haven Harbor, several boats have broken loose from their moorings, harbormaster John Crocker told The Times. A yacht was pushed up against the slip at the Steamship Authority terminal in Vineyard Haven.
All across the Island roads have been closed due to flooding, which has been exacerbated by astronomical high tides. The Chappy ferry was closed for most of the day Friday and you almost need a ferry to get to the actual dock because of the flooding at the Edgartown Wharf.
Five Corners in Vineyard Haven has been under water throughout the storm, as well.
Despite reports that this storm could produce coastal flooding and winds that are “potentially life-threatening,” John Christenson, West Tisbury emergency manager and current chair of the Dukes County Emergency Managers, told The Times there are no plans to open an all-Island shelter at this time.
“The flooding that the Weather Channel is foaming at the mouth about we’re probably not going to get,” he said.
At around 5:40 pm Friday, State Road in Tisbury near the Scottish Bake House is closed, according to a Times reporter.
Updated at 12:30 from the Dukes County Communications Center, the following roads are closed:
Edgartown – Oak Bluffs Beach Road closed
Sea View Ave in Oak Bluffs closed
Drawbridge from OB (on OB side) closed
Beach Road (from drawbridge on VH side) closed
Five Corners completely flooded
Many secondary roads closed
Water Street in VH closed- leaving Stop and Shop lot, you can only take a left, and turn up Union street.
Lagoon Pond Road in VH closed
Signs are up to mark flooding on County Road. The flooding is between Pinewood Lane and Trade Wind Lane. Motorists may still pass at their own risk but Oak Bluffs Police advise against it and suggest taking side roads to get around the flooded area.
Several Island police departments, through social media, have pleaded with Islanders to stay off the roads during the storm.
Tisbury Town Hall is closing at 12 noon; VH Public Library closed
Friends of the Library monthly meeting has been cancelled for tomorrow, rescheduled for Saturday March 10th https://fb.me/Ha2FVJWq
Chilmark closed its town offices at 1:30 pm.
Due to dangerous weather conditions, the Oak Bluffs library is closing at 1 pm today, and Friday Night Magic is canceled.
MV Film Center: We have also cancelled our 4:30pm and 7:30pm shows. So, the FILM CENTER is completely closed today.
The Chappy Ferry has stopped running as of 10 am Friday, according to an alert from the Edgartown police.
According to the Steamship Authority website, every ferry from mid-morning through 2:30 pm Saturday were cancelled. The Steamship did run the 2:30 pm boat from Woods Hole to Vineyard Haven before deciding to scrap the rest of Saturday’s trips.
Based on the most recent forecasts from the National Weather Service, the Steamship Authority anticipates service disruptions could possibly continue Sunday. The Steamship Authority is continuing to monitor the storm and will issue further travel advisories and updates as revised forecasts from the National Weather Service are released.
The Steamship Authority advises its customers to check its website for further updates.
Current Conditions may be viewed at http://www.steamshipauthority.
5:30 pm Friday situational awareness update
The following is the latest situational awareness update by the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.
Numerous coastal communities in Massachusetts experienced significant flooding as a result of Friday morning’s high tide cycle. Two high tide cycles remain that will bring moderate to major – and potentially life-threatening – coastal flooding and severe to extreme beach erosion. The upcoming midnight high tide cycle will be somewhat worse than this morning’s high tide, with greater potential for causing damage.
Since this morning, concern for Cape Cod Bay and Nantucket Harbor for the upcoming midnight tide cycle has increased. Nantucket Harbor, in particular, may see record water levels, potentially exceeding those experienced during the October 1991 “Perfect Storm”. Coastal communities should continue to message to residents to evacuate areas at risk for flooding.
The Saturday morning high tide is expected to bring moderate to major coastal flooding, while the Saturday night high tide cycle will bring minor coastal flooding.
- Precipitation will continue into tonight. Southeastern Massachusetts has seen 2 – 2.5 inches of rain thus far, and is expecting to see an additional 2 – 3 inches.
- Rain is expected to transition to snow sometime between 5 and 7 PM this evening. Southern Worcester and Norfolk counties may see 3 – 4 inches of snow, northern Worcester County may see 2 – 3 inches of snow, and areas just west of Boston may see 1 – 2 inches of snow, while remaining northeastern and southeastern portions of MA could see an inch or less.
- The eastern slopes of the Berkshires have already received over 10 inches of snowfall. An additional 6-8 inches is expected.
Additional Snowfall and Rainfall Graphics
- There are still two high tide cycles that will bring moderate to major – and potentially life-threatening – coastal flooding and severe to extreme erosion to north, northeast and east facing shorelines.
- The upcoming midnight high tide cycle will be somewhat worse than this morning’s high tide, with greater potential for causing damage.
- For the upcoming midnight high tide, there is increased concern for Cape Cod Bay and Nantucket Harbor. Nantucket Harbor may see record water levels, potentially exceeding those experienced during the October 1991 “Perfect Storm”. Coastal communities should continue to message to residents to evacuate areas at risk for flooding.
- Saturday morning’s high tide cycle will bring moderate to major coastal flooding and severe beach erosion. Although water levels for this tide cycle are not expected to be as high as the previous two high tides, the erosion experienced during those high tides will make shorelines more vulnerable.
- Saturday evening’s high tide is expected to bring minor coastal flooding and continued minor to moderate erosion.
- Wind gusts have reached 77 mph in Woods Hole, 78 mph in Wellfleet, and 83 mph in East Falmouth.
- Winds will be at their strongest through tonight, with 30 – 40 mph gusts inland, and 50 – 70 mph gusts along the coast. Gusts on Cape Ann, Cape Cod and the Island could reach 80 – 90 during peak times. Winds will taper off after tonight but remain strong through the weekend, still gusting up to 40 mph in Boston and 50 mph on Nantucket.
- Heavy rain may cause street flooding in urban and poor-drainage areas and significant rises in rivers and streams.
- The Taunton River in Bridgewater is expected to reach minor flood state overnight tonight, and will remain in minor flood stage into Monday. At this flood stage, minor lowland and backyard flooding is likely along reaches of the river along Bridgewater and Middleboro. Backwater flooding from the Taunton River will cause prolonged flooding of lower Purchade Brook in Middleboro. This will cause Woloski Park to become impassable by vehicles.The Assabet River in Maynard is expected to reach minor flood stage early Sunday morning and will remain in minor flood stage through early Monday. At this flood stage, minor lowland and backyard flooding is likely along reaches of the river in Maynard, Concord, and Hudson. Several river roads may also become covered in water.
Power outages continue to climb across the Commonwealth. Areas experiencing strong winds and/or heavy wet snow may experience additional power outages as the storm continues. The bulk of outages are due to damage at the distribution level caused by downed trees, power lines, and the like. Due to high winds, primarily in coastal/open areas, utilities report that their crews are having difficulty getting up in bucket trucks which is hindering restoration efforts. Damage assessment continues and crews are able to perform ground work where appropriate (clear wires, make safe, etc.), but the winds that are expected to continue throughout the weekend will impact power restoration.
As of 5 pm, there are a total of 160,485 customer outages statewide.
- National Grid: 120,584
- Eversource: 39,893
- Unitil: 8
Flooding Reports from Friday Morning High Tide Cycle
The following communities reported significant flooding during the Friday morning high tide cycle:
- Oak Bluffs
As of 4:45 PM, CZM has received over 170 storm damage reports in 30 coastal communities from 40 storm team members. There was widespread flooding of roads, buildings, parking areas and parks, damage to buildings reported in Rockport, Marblehead, Scituate and Sandwich, and widespread damage to beach access structures. Storm Team members have not been able to do assessments of seawalls and many neighborhoods due to high water.
MassDOT reports the following:
- The speed limit on the Mass Pike has been reduced to 40 MPH between the New York border and Blandford.
- Amtrak service between Boston and New York has been suspended due to downed trees.
- The Steamship Authority has cancelled all remaining departures for the day. The Steamship Authority has also suspended ferry service on Saturday until 12:00 PM for Martha’s Vineyard and until 2:45 PM for Nantucket due to high winds and rough seas. All other trips on Saturday will operate on a trip by trip basis and service will resume as soon as wind and sea conditions improve.
- Many flights have been delayed or cancelled; travelers should check with their airlines prior to leaving for the airport.
DCR reports the following:
- Barriers on Quincy Shore Drive were lost during the last high tide; DCR is working to replace them.
- Morrissey Blvd is open from JFK/UMass to Freeport Street.
Health and Medical Impacts:
- MDPH is tracking approximately 8 long-term care facilities around the state that have lost power and is coordinating with ESF-12 to prioritize power restoration.
MEMA is aware of open shelters/warming centers in the following communities:
As of 5:15 PM, a total of 80 people are being housed in shelters. ARC is coordinating with the Salvation Army to provide feeding at shelters where needed.
The State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) and the Regional Emergency Operations Centers have activated to Level 3 (Full Activation) as of 8 AM this morning. Representatives from the following agencies and organizations are present in the SEOC:
- Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency
- American Red Cross
- Coastal Zone Management
- Department of Conservation and Recreation
- Department of Environmental Protection
- Department of Fire Services
- Department of Public Health
- Department of Public Utilities
- Federal Emergency Management Agency
- Massachusetts Environmental Police
- Massachusetts National Guard
- Massachusetts State Police
- National Grid
- Office of Public Safety and Inspections
- Salvation Army
- U.S. Coast Guard
MEMA held a conference call for municipal officials, state agencies, our ESF Team, and other public sector stakeholders earlier today. During the call, the NWS provided an updated weather briefing and MEMA provided an update on ongoing response operations, followed by a question and answer period.
As of 4:30 PM, the SEOC has received a total of 45 requests for assistance from cities and towns. The bulk of the requests have been for high water vehicles, sandbags, and pumps.
Preparedness and Safety Information/Messaging
- Residents of eastern coastal communities are urged to monitor the forecast and follow evacuation instructions from local officials.
- Do not ride out the storm in your home; rescue during the storm may not be possible. Staying in homes that are in flood prone areas puts yourself and first responders at risk.
- Do not drive through flood waters.
- Safety and preparedness tips for nor’easters and coastal storms:
- Power outage preparedness and safety information:
- Flood safety tips:
- Evacuation planning information:
Utilize Massachusetts Alerts to receive emergency notifications and information from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency and the National Weather Service. Massachusetts Alerts is a free app that is available for Android and iPhones. To learn more about Massachusetts Alerts, and for information on how to download the free app onto your smartphone, visit:http://www.mass.gov/service-details/massachusetts-alerts-smartphone-app.
Utilize MEMA’s real-time power outage viewer to stay informed about current power outages in your community and region, and across the state, including information from utility companies about restoration times: http://mema.mapsonline.net/public.html
Utilize MEMA’s live weather radar and forecasting tools: http://www.mass.gov/map-resources
Utilize the National Weather Service’s Coastal Flood Threat and Inundation Mapping Tool: https://www.weather.gov/box/coastal
For additional information and resources, visit:
Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency at www.mass.gov/mema
MEMA’s Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/MassachusettsEMA
MEMA Twitter: @MassEMA
Federal Emergency Management Agency at www.fema.gov
National Weather Service/Taunton at www.weather.gov/boston
National Weather Service/Albany, NY at www.weather.gov/albany
National Weather Service Weather Prediction Center: http://www.wpc.ncep.noaa.gov
National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center: http://www.spc.noaa.gov/
Mass211 at www.mass211.org