Martha’s Vineyard battered by blizzard


The wind is whipping, with a gust recorded at 66 mph in Aquinnah, and a wet, mushy snow is accumulating on the ground. Martha’s Vineyard is in the midst of a blizzard that’s expected to lash the Island throughout the day.

Demonstrating the destructive power of the storm, the Oak Bluffs police are reporting that  a section of the roof in the west wing of the Summercamp Hotel has blown off. They are asking people to stay clear of the area.

Part of a porch roof was blown off the hotel, which bears the brunt of the wind coming off of Oak Bluffs Harbor. Speaking to The Times from Maine on Tuesday afternoon, Lark Hotels CEO Rob Blood said he had been apprised of the damage. “There’s definitely some damage, but I believe it’s not as bad as it seems,” he said. “Part of the porch roof on a fourth-story balcony blew off on the west wing, which is the large part of the building. Two rooms on the fifth floor sustained a little bit of damage. The tower isn’t damaged, it’s just roofing paper that blew off from the other part of the building. It looks worse than it actually is.”

A 4×4 Black Dog van wound up in Lagoon Pond Tuesday afternoon, though it remains unclear what happened. A report of a truck in the water off the town landing went out at approximately 3:30 pm. The report indicated the driver was no longer in the vehicle. Tisbury police, firefighters, and EMS personnel fielded a large response to Lagoon Pond Landing. When it became clear no one was in peril, the fire department focused on vehicle recovery, and employed the winch on Rescue Truck 661 to haul the van onto the edge of the parking lot, where a wrecker could reach it. Fire Chief John Schilling said he believed Jamie Douglas, whose family owns the popular Black Dog franchise, was the operator of the van, and that the individual kiteboarding in the background as a ramp truck backed into place was his brother, Rob Douglas. Schilling declined to speculate on how the van came to be in Lagoon Pond. He referred the question to Tisbury police, who were not immediately available for comment.

As of 9:30 am, 200 customers were without power in West Tisbury, Oak Bluffs, and Edgartown, according to online outage maps. By 11 am, those power outages were much more prevalent, with 100 percent of Chilmark and Aquinnah without power, and 50 percent of the customers in West Tisbury in the dark. Power outages remain rampant across the Island as of 3 pm. As of 7 pm, things have improved in Chilmark and West Tisbury, but there are more outages in Edgartown than earlier in the day, and all of Aquinnah is still without power.

Snow measured just about five inches at 1 pm in Oak Bluffs, with hours of snowfall still to come. In Edgartown, it measured about seven inches just before 2 pm.

There is a report of a tree on a house on Greenwood Avenue in Vineyard Haven.

Tisbury police are reporting two roads closed. State Road by Scottish Bakehouse was closed for a tree on power lines, the police reported on their Facebook page at 11 am, but has since reopened. An hour earlier, police reported that Clough Lane was closed due to a tree down, blocking the road, and Main Street was closed just after Fairfield due to a tree that fell and took down a power line. As of 1:06 pm, Tisbury police reported Skiff Avenue closed from Renear to Mount Aldworth. Use Mount Aldworth to access Skiff/Hinckley Circle.

Oak Bluffs police reported a tree down on Alpine Avenue Tuesday morning.

Up-Island, Aquinnah police reported at 10:30 am that State Road by the Orange Peel Bakery is closed for a downed tree.

In Chilmark, a plow slipped off the street on State Road, and near Menemsha Crossroad, Ken Cotterill, owner of Lickity Split Logs, could be seen using his chainsaw to cut up fallen limbs.

Edgartown is reporting many trees down on utility poles, including Winter Street in Edgartown. “If you have to be out, please respect the cones indicating closed areas and stay off roads that are closed,” the alert states.

At about 1 pm, Edgartown police reported Herring Creek Road is closed from Crocker Drive to Edgartown Estates. Meetinghouse Way is closed from Herring Creek Road to Prada’s Way.

Schools are canceled, and many businesses plan to remain closed for the day. Ferries are suspended through the end of the day and will run on a trip-by-trip basis after that.

A Times reporter driving in Chilmark said there is flooding on Middle Road, near Meetinghouse Road. Tree branches are dangling under the pressure from the heavy wet snow.

Beach Road in Vineyard Haven, as is typical in coastal storms, is flooded in spots.

Gov. Charlie Baker has urged people to work from home. “We urging the public to stay off the roads. If you need to go out, please use public transit whenever possible,” Baker said Monday at a press conference from the state’s Highway Operations Center, according to the State House News Service.

No regional shelter has been opened as of 11 am, but St. Andrew’s in Edgartown is opening at 7 pm.

Check back for more updates as they become available.