Dorian spares Martha’s Vineyard

Vineyard is under a tropical storm warning.


UPDATED to include more cancellations below.

Vineyarders woke up Saturday morning to a lot of wet and gusty winds, but not much more. There were reports of scattered power outages on social media, though the Eversource map showed no outages on the Island.

The biggest impact, thus far, appears to be with ferry service. Early morning ferries were canceled by the Steamship Authority. Once ferry service resumes, boats that typically go in and out of Oak Bluffs are being diverted to Vineyard Haven throughout the day.

“The weather gods were kind to us and we appreciate that,” Tisbury Fire Chief John Schilling said.

He wasn’t alone with that sentiment. “We’re happy campers here,” Edgartown harbormaster Charlie Blair said. “Lucked out.”

The forecast for Martha’s Vineyard called for rain and wind, both heavy at times, Friday into Saturday as Hurricane Dorian passed to the south of Nantucket.

Predictions called for as as 2 to 4 inches of rain late Friday into Saturday morning with sustained winds of 15 to 20 mph and gusts that could reach 60 mph. Hurricane Dorian made its closest pass to the Cape and Islands more than 120 miles off the southern coast of Nantucket before speeding off toward Nova Scotia.

“One of the good things is Dorian is coming between moon cycles, so tides won’t be as high as would be during a full or new moon,” , Kim Buttrick, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service out of Taunton, told The Times. Flooding is anticipated in traditional spots like Beach Road in Vineyard Haven, particularly on Saturday morning, she said. 

Emergency managers on the Island watched the storm carefully. An alert sent out by the Town of Tisbury states that “there is still a great deal of uncertainty in the forecast” and residents are encouraged to monitor National Hurricane Center forecasts and sign up for the Code Red alert system.

John Crocker, Tisbury harbormaster, said there was evidence boat owners heeded the alerts issued on the town’s website. They’ve been out securing pennants and, in some cases, hauling boats out of the water. Crocker said he’ll make a call Friday morning whether to remove the dinghy floats.

“We’re doing everything we can — getting boats off the edge of the mooring field where it’s less protected,” he said. “One of the biggest things is the uncertainty. It’s hard to know how far to take the preps. It’s not easy. There’s still a tremendous amount of uncertainty in the forecast.”

Blair said ahead of the storm boats were hauled out and about 50 at docks are using town moorings to weather the storm. He said the town asks them to sign a waiver.

“Some of these people asked me, ‘What storm? It’s not coming here’,” Blair said. “Imagine that?”

The northeast winds expected are worse for Vineyard Haven than they are for Edgartown, he said. Still, he’s hoping for more of a turn from Dorian so there’s less of an impact, but for now Edgartown is preparing for flooding on Dock Street and the Main Street parking lot.

The forecast for Sunday is much better, Buttrick said, but she cautioned folks from running to the beach and getting into the water, especially at beaches where there are no longer lifeguards. “Even though it will be calm after the storm passes, the sea will be high offshore, so there’s likely to be dangerous rip currents,” she said.

Here is a list of cancellations:

First Friday in Vineyard Haven has been canceled.

Friday night’s MVRHS football game has been moved to Saturday at 6 pm. Watch for updates on the Touchdown Club Facebook page.

A cross country invitational meet at MVRHS, which features high schools from throughout the area, has been postponed until Saturday, Sept. 14.

The Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) Powwow has been moved to the tribe’s community center.