Day three: Cleanup and power restoration continues

Steamship returns but no power for pockets of Islanders


As of Friday morning, 2,000 Islanders remain without electricity, according to the MEMA power outage map. That’s down from 3,292 customers on Thursday.

At the Woods Hole terminal on Friday morning, four utility trucks waited in line to board the ferry headed to the Vineyard as reinforcements. During a press briefing on Thursday, the CEO of Eversource Joseph Nolan promised 98% of customers would have their power restored in southeastern Massachusetts by 6 pm Saturday.

Schools on the Island, after two days off because of the widespread power outages, returned to classes on Friday.

The powerful nor’easter ripped through the Island late Tuesday and most of the day Wednesday leaving a massive amount of debris in its wake.

The Steamship Authority was able to restore full service on Thursday after two early-morning trips of the Katama were scratched.

“As of [Wednesday] night we are 100 percent without power,” Aquinnah emergency manager Forest Filler texted at about 7 am Thursday, “however I have some reports from individuals in town that their power was restored. Cell phone service and internet has been mostly out…We opened the old town hall as a warming and charging station center yesterday during the day and we are opening up again at 9 am. People can come and warm up, get some water, use the bathroom, have coffee and snacks with the Aquinnah CERT team.”

Noli Taylor, a volunteer in the Aquinnah CERT team, said Filler and Aquinnah select board member Gary Haley staffed old town hall yesterday. One of the first people to come in was a woman who had her window blown out during the storm, Taylor said. Others followed.

“Just to see a friendly face and get a hot drink meant a lot,” Taylor said.

Kathie Olsen and Carla Cuch staffed old town hall Thursday, Taylor said.

All in all she said it was nice to see the CERT preparedness put to use. Hurricane Henri fell short in that regard, she said, but CERT team members remained ready. 

Eversource CEO Joseph Nolan met with reporters in Falmouth Thursday morning and said there are crews out there ready to restore power. He predicted that 98% of customers would have power restored by Saturday, but many would come back sooner.

“I will tell you that every single community impacted if they’re not seeing a ton of trucks in that community, I’d be very surprised,” he said. “I don’t know individual communities what you’re looking at, but all these jobs have eyes on them. We’ve got resources, we’ve got equipment, we’ve got whatever materials are needed… You’re gonna see tonight when the sun goes down, you’ll see an extraordinary drop in the number of customers that are without power. I can promise you that.”

Oak Bluffs Harbormaster Todd Alexander told The Times Thursday the wooden vessel Halcyon dragged it’s mooring in the storm. This was the vessel seen pinned to two pilings.

“First time I’ve seen it happen — a mooring drag in this harbor. I’ve seen chains break.” 

Alexander said when winds exceed 60 mph, “all bets are off.”

The boat that capsized in the harbor yesterday was called the Love and Hate, Alexander said. A tow boat company is expected to raise Love and Hate sometime Thursday, he said. Both lines snapped on the boat, Snowy O, Alexander said. On Wednesday its gunnel could be seen grinding against the edge of the harbor. Alexander described the recent nor’easter as right up there with the No Name Storm (also known as the Perfect Storm) and Super Storm Sandy.

At about 11 am Thursday morning, Oak Bluffs Fire Chief Nelson Wirtz said 200 to 300 customers are still without electricity. A few “secondary and tertiary” roads remain blocked with trees, he said. 

“I think Eversource did a nice job of getting things back up as reasonably as possible,” he said. 

A Packer family freighter that went aground at the head of Tashmoo Lake during the storm was freed Thursday by a tug and barge. Ralph Packer said the vessel had two moorings and an anchor on it. The vessel went into soft bottom and was undamaged, he said. 

“She’s fine,” he said. 

Thursday morning, the fishing vessel Grayhaven remained beached in front of the Black Dog Tavern. 

Dukes County Manager Martina Thornton said the county shut down Wednesday but was back up Thursday, including Vineyard Healthcare Access.  

On Thursday morning, emergency managers issued the following press release:

“At this time, pockets of Martha’s Vineyard are without power, water, and/or communications. The town highway departments and utilities providers have been working to restore electricity and communications to the Island as quickly as possible. Additional crews will be coming over from the mainland to help support these efforts,” the release states. “The Martha’s Vineyard Regional Emergency Management Directors are working with the Fire, Emergency Medical Services and Police Departments to ensure the safety of the public. If a resident needs water or shelter, because of loss of power, please call 774-836-0723. You will be directed to your local Emergency Management Director for your individual town’s emergency resources.”

“As of an hour ago there were still 1,000 people without electricity just in Vineyard Haven alone,” Christina Colorusso, Tisbury’s emergency manager, said. Wednesday night the town hosted a warming and charging station in the bottom of the emergency center and will do so again Thursday, Colorusso said. 

Martha’s Vineyard Emergency Management Directors:

  • Aquinnah Emergency Management Director – Forrest Filler
  • Chilmark Emergency Management Director – Timothy Carroll
  • Edgartown Emergency Management Director – Fire Chief Alex Schaeffer
  • Dukes County Emergency Management Director – Martina Thornton
  • Oak Bluffs Emergency Management Director – Fire-EMS Chief Nelson Wirtz
  • Tisbury Emergency Management Director – Christina Colarusso
  • West Tisbury Emergency Management Director – Russell Hartenstine

Check your mailboxes on Friday for this week’s print edition of The Times.


  1. There are 7 words in the headline.
    Also 7 words about school closures.
    If the Times is going to run an article that looks like more than 700 words about school closings, I think it should say something about school closings.
    Why the schools are closed , for example ?
    I can’t think of any rational reason to inconvenience hundreds of parents and keep the kids home today, only to add another day to the school calendar on some nice day next spring.

    • More than 3,000 customers still without power (more when the decision was made), some roads not yet passable, and people using warming shelters up-Island. Maybe you’re among the fortunate ones who has electricity? Good for you.

      • As a working single dad for years, when school was unexpectedly closed , it was inconvenient. Of course they don’t exist for the convenience of parents.
        Reducing traffic on the roads is a rational reason to close the schools.
        Good point.
        My original comment was merely to point out that the original article did not specifically link any issue to the need to close the schools.
        My criticism was that I thought the headline was sensationalism.
        Also, I could be wrong, but don’t all public schools on the island have emergency generators ? I would appreciate feedback on that question.
        I also appreciate the comment from Mary.
        I don’t mind being ” schooled”.

    • The rational reason is to reduce Island traffic to facilitate removal of hazardous conditions caused by the storm.

  2. I’m a retired school teacher whose grandson attends an Island schools. Regarding the 2nd day of closing, I can think of many reasons – not all schools had power; main and secondary roads were blocked making it dangerous for school buses traveling and picking up students and for parents dropping off their children; many families had no communication so coordinating with school staff was difficult; some families were staying at shelters so impossible to reach. Even though they’re called “snow days,” I believe the Island-wide system has 5 of them for all weather emergencies. My experience is that we don’t get much snow here these winters, but school has been called off for heavy rain and high winds – as we had these past two days. Safety and sanity first.

  3. Does MEME also provide outrage maps? Sounds like we could use them, but the fix doesn’t seem possible at all, ever.

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