Martha’s Vineyard is under tropical storm warning

This shows the expected path of Tropical Storm Isaias.

A tropical storm warning is in effect for Martha’s Vineyard, according to the National Weather Service. 

Hurricane Isaias is pummeling the East Coast of the United States with rain, wind, and a powerful storm surge. It’s expected to hit North Carolina on Monday and then weaken into a tropical storm. The forecast calls for the eye of the storm to pass west of Martha’s Vineyard Tuesday evening, Alan Dunham, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service told The Times. That means the Island will feel the wind from the tropical storm, but not the much-needed rain, he said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if you have less than half an inch of rain total,” Dunham said.

The effects of the storm will begin Tuesday afternoon, but the heaviest winds will be Tuesday night. Dunham said he expects those winds to be sustained at about 20 to 30 mph with gusts up to 45 mph. There is a possibility of some coastal flooding from the storm during Tuesday night’s high tide, he said.

“The bigger concern for people going to the beach [Tuesday] and Wednesday is the enhanced danger of rip currents,” Dunham said. 

The entire storm event will only last about six hours with the fast-moving storm moving up into Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, he said.

On Monday, the Steamship Authority issued an alert. “Based on current forecasts, we anticipate service disruptions occurring on both routes starting Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday morning,” the alert states.

The Island Queen, which ferries passengers between Falmouth and Oak Bluffs, has already canceled two crossings on Tuesday in anticipation of the storm. The 6 pm Falmouth departure and the 6:45 pm Oak Bluffs departure are canceled. “The last sailing of the day will be the 5:15 pm from Oak Bluffs,” according to the Island Queen’s Twitter.

Tisbury harbormaster John Crocker said emails were sent to all mooring holders warning about the storm and pointing them to instructions on the town’s website. The town is also asking that all dinghies be removed from the dinghy floats in order to ease the strain, he said.

In anticipation of the storm, one town vessel will be put on a mooring and two others will be moved to Prime Marina in Lagoon Pond where it’s more sheltered, Crocker said. “The south-southwest wind from this storm is a blessing,” he said. The harbor and Tashmoo are more vulnerable in northeast and northwest winds, Crocker said.

On Friday, the Vineyard’s emergency managers urged Islanders to be prepared for hurricane season by signing up for CodeRED, the Dukes County emergency notification system for severe weather events. 

According to the release, Islanders should develop an emergency plan with household members, including an evacuation plan. The release also urges creating an emergency kit by preparing for three to five days without power. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, include face coverings, masks, hand sanitizer and other cleaning supplies you may need.”

The emergency managers have created public service announcements in English and in Portuguese that detail what’s needed in an evacuation plan and an emergency kit.