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Tropical storm's tatters batter Vineyard
The sound of chain saws echoed across Martha's Vineyard in the wake of tropical storm Noel, which blew through on Saturday. The powerful northeaster lashed the Island for most of the day with gale force winds and drenching rains that brought down trees and left many residents without electrical power.
A boat foundered in Oak Bluffs Harbor, overwhelmed by the northeast wind and turbulent water. Photo by Adam Darack
Although the fast-moving storm passed well east of the Vineyard it was enough to provide a taste of what a hurricane might be like for those who were not on the Vineyard when Hurricane Bob hit in August 1991.
Lights flickered and went out, tree limbs and branches littered roadways, trees fell, and several boats sank. Winds blew out of the north-northeast for much of the day. Vineyard Haven Harbor, which faces the northeast, bore the brunt of the force. The weather station atop The Times office (www.mvtimes.com/weather/index.php) recorded sustained wind speeds of more than 30 miles per hour from 8 am to 6 pm with a peak of 42 at 2 pm. Gusts between 60 and 65 miles per hour were recorded between 3 and 4 pm.
The calm after the storm provided a bounty of scallops washed up on the beach near the Edgartown Lighthouse. Photo by Carolyn Daniele
Mr. Hale said the shipyard weathered the storm just fine. "We did very well," he said.
John Crocker, assistant Tisbury harbor master, said a small sailboat turned over on its mooring in the harbor and another sank at its mooring in the Lagoon. There was no damage to docks or town property, he said.
"We didn't have an emergency call all day," he said.
Edgartown harbor master Charlie Blair said six boats ended up on the beach, and one center console overturned at a dock. "There was no big damage," he said.
Workmen prepare to remove a tree that fell on a Campground cottage in Oak Bluffs. Photo by Ralph Stewart
One boater was not so lucky in Oak Bluffs, where a boat sank in the harbor in its slip. The exact cause was not known, said harbor master Todd Alexander.
In the Island's westernmost town, Aquinnah town administrator Jeff Burgoyne said shingles blew off the roof of the library and the town hall.
State Police lieutenant Bob Moore said his officers were not called for anything significant. He noted that a tree fell on a cruiser in Woods Hole.
Stuart Fuller, Edgartown highway superintendent, reported that highway crews responded to a call about one large tree that came down on Fuller Street and several smaller trees, limbs and branches. For the most part he said there was little damage and no widespread power outages.
A swing rides the wind outside the Coastwise Packet Company on Vineyard Haven Harbor. Photo by Steve Myrick
Chris Kennedy, regional superintendent for The Trustees of Reservations, said erosion at Wasque Point on the southeast corner of Chappaquiddick washed away a beach trail and there was some flooding. He said there did not appear to be any significant change in the width of the Katama cut.
Martha's Vineyard Airport manager Sean Flynn said the airport relied on generators for power for approximately six hours, but there was little damage. The airport was never closed. Technically the airport only closes for an accident or snow plowing but weather conditions were so bad no pilot with any sense would have tried to land, he said.
Driven by the northeasterly gale, high tide overran the dock at Owen Park in Vineyard Haven. Photo by Susan Safford
The National Weather Service reported wind gusts of 72 miles per hour and sustained winds of 56 miles per hour on Nantucket. More than 50,000 NStar customers on the South Shore, Cape Cod, and the Islands lost power during the storm.
NStar pre-positioned extra workers on the Vineyard on Friday in anticipation of ferry service shutting down, said NStar spokesman Mike Durand. "That allowed us to get to the restoration effort more quickly on Saturday," he said.