Storm-weary Islanders look ahead to end of winter weather

Following the storm, large parts of the clay cliff at Lucy Vincent Beach were gone. — Photo by Steve Myrick

A relentless ocean storm, with unusually high tides causing severe coastal erosion, battered Martha’s Vineyard over parts of three days beginning on Thursday, March 7. Last week’s blow was the fourth severe storm of the fall and winter seasons.

The National Weather Service issued coastal flood warnings and high wind warnings for most of that period.

The Island coastline suffered more erosion. Four to 10 feet of the coastal bank on Wasque washed away in the storm, according to observers who surveyed the erosion.

At Lucy Vincent Beach in Chilmark, a large part of the remaining clay cliff on the eastern side of the beach collapsed and washed away.

A 2-inch fissure developed in the front portion of the cliff from top to bottom. Even at the lower range of the tide, water lapped at the bottom of the cliff. At high tide, wave after wave slammed into the base of the compacted clay formation.

A storm surge of 2.5 to 3 feet higher than normal high tide left several low-lying roadways under water.

There was minor damage to the roadway on Beach Road near Harthaven as waves washed onto the roadway. Because of the high water, the road was closed during high tides.

Beach Road and Lagoon Pond Avenue in Vineyard Haven were also closed to traffic at times.

Steamship Authority ferries and the Chappaquiddick ferry ran intermittently during the period.

While parts of Massachusetts got 20 inches of snow, more than double the amount predicted, Martha’s Vineyard escaped with less than an inch of accumulation.