Hurricane Sandy track: The Vineyard can expect high winds

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Updated 2 pm, Monday

From the National Hurricane Center

AT 200 PM THE CENTER OF HURRICANE SANDY WAS LOCATED BY AN AIR FORCE RESERVE HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT AND NOAA DOPPLER WEATHER RADARS TO BE NEAR LATITUDE 38.3 NORTH, LONGITUDE 73.1WEST. SANDY IS NOW MOVING TOWARD THE NORTHWEST NEAR 28 MPH. THIS GENERAL MOTION IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE THROUGH THIS AFTERNOON AND EVENING UNTIL LANDFALL OCCURS FOLLOWED BY A TURNTOWARD THE WEST-NORTHWEST TONIGHT. ON THE FORECAST TRACK THE CENTER OF SANDY IS EXPECTED TO MAKE LANDFALL ALONG OR JUST SOUTH OFTHE SOUTHERN NEW JERSEY COAST BY EARLY EVENING.

From the Mass Emergency Management Agency (MEMA)

Hurricane Sandy is currently off the coast of North Carolina and is expected to move north- northwest tonight and tomorrow, making landfall along the New Jersey coast sometime Monday night into Tuesday.

Given the large geographic size and duration of Sandy, Massachusetts will experience moderate to major impacts, including damaging winds for a period of 12 – 18 hours, associated widespread power outages, and heavy rains. In addition, both south- and east-facing coastlines will experience moderate to major coastal flooding and beach erosion.

Potential impacts of Sandy include:

High Seas: Sandy is predicted to cause unusually high seas (30 feet or greater) off the coast of New England with seas building Sunday evening and peaking Monday and Tuesday. Strong gale and storm force winds are expected with hurricane force gusts possible. Seas will be dangerous and potentially life-threatening, even for large vessels. National Weather Service (NWS) advises all vessels be in port by Sunday morning.

Winds: A long period (12 – 18 hours) of damaging winds will occur, and it is anticipated these strong winds will result in widespread power outages. Wind damage may be exacerbated in southern New England as most trees still have foliage at this time of year. Inland Massachusetts could experience sustained 30-40 mph winds with gusts of 50-60 mph. beginning Monday morning. The Massachusetts coastline will see winds of 40-50 mph with gusts 60-80 mph beginning in late Sunday night and early Monday morning.

Coastal Flooding: Both east- and south-facing coasts in Massachusetts may experience moderate to major coastal flooding and beach erosion during the Monday and Tuesday high tide cycles. For south-facing coasts, the Monday evening high tide is of most concern and may experience major coastal flooding. Surge is expected to reach 3-5 feet, with high energy waves of up to 30 feet approaching the coastline. There is the possibility that areas within Buzzards Bay, especially communities from Fair Haven west to Narragansett Bay, may to see up to 6-10 feet of surge as the winds push water up into the bay, resulting in destructive coastal flooding. For east-facing coasts, minor to moderate coastal flooding may occur, with the Monday midday and midnight high tide cycles of most concern. East-facing coasts may see 2-4 feet of surge during high tide, with 3-5 feet possible during low tide cycle.

Rainfall: Massachusetts can expect 1 -3 inches of rainfall Sunday night through Wednesday with locally higher amounts of 3-5 inches possible, especially in the Berkshires and Worcester Hills. Rain is expected to begin Sunday night and potentially last through mid-week.

Chappy Ferry service

Peter Wells, owner of the Chappy Ferry, said the Coast Guard has closed the port of Edgartown. The ferry is operating on an emergency basis.

SSA, service suspended

The Steamship Authority has suspended service.

State of emergency declared

“At 12:45 on Saturday, October 27th, Governor Patrick signed a State of Emergency Declaration for the entire Commonwealth of Massachusetts. This will allow the Commonwealth to use all of our resources, and deploy them in a swift and effective manner. The Massachusetts National Guard has been activated. Once the storm reaches us, their mission will be to assist with evacuations, searches and rescues as well as transporting emergency services personnel, augmenting MEMA Rapid Response Teams and assisting law enforcement with security and traffic control.”