State Emergency Management Agency sets sights on Wednesday storm


DATE: March 5, 2018
TIME: 9:30 AM
SUBJECT: Upcoming Coastal Storm Wednesday/Thursday

The National Weather Service is forecasting another coastal storm to bring snow and gusty winds to New England starting Wednesday morning and continuing into Thursday.


• Snow is forecast to begin mainly after the Wednesday morning commute and continue through Wednesday night before tapering off during the morning commute on Thursday. The greatest impact appears to be the late day Wednesday commute and possibly lingering into the Thursday morning commute.

•  Snow may fall at a rate of as much as 1-2 inches per hour at the peak of the storm late Wednesday into Wednesday night.

• A potential change to rain is possible for portions of eastern Massachusetts, but the location of the rain/snow line remains highly uncertain. The changeover from snow to rain would most likely take place late Wednesday afternoon or evening. In the vicinity of the rain/snow line, snow is likely to be wet and heavy.

· Snowfall totals could reach 8-12 inches over much of Massachusetts, with 6-8 inches falling in parts of far western Massachusetts and the Connecticut River valley, 4-6 inches in the vicinity of the rain/snow line, and up to 2-3 inches in southeastern Massachusetts.


· 30-40 MPH wind gusts, with up to 50 MPH gusts over the Cape and Islands, are forecast, with the strongest winds occurring Wednesday night into Thursday morning.


•  A storm surge of around 2.5 to 3 feet and 15-20 foot waves just offshore are forecast. At worst, this could result in minor coastal flooding and moderate beach erosion for the early Thursday morning high tide (generally 3:30 AM to 4:30 AM along the MA east coast). This will likely be the only high tide with any coastal impacts.


• This storm has yet to form and is still more than 2 days away. Small-scale details such as the exact location of the rain/snow line are not usually known with high forecast confidence until 24-36 hours prior to the event. 

• A slight shift in storm track will determine whether the heaviest snow would occur across Connecticut into western-central Massachusetts, or farther east into Rhode Island and eastern Massachusetts, impacting the Boston to Providence corridor.

• The location of the rain/snow line remains highly uncertain, ranging from as far west as the Connecticut River Valley to as far east as the Cape Cod Canal.


• Storm surge and offshore wave action could result in minor coastal flooding and moderate beach erosion during the early Thursday morning high tide.

• Heavy snow and gusty winds will result in hazardous travel conditions due to slippery road conditions and lowered visibility from blowing and drifting snow. Both the Wednesday evening and Thursday morning commutes may be impacted by this event.

• Heavy wet snow in the vicinity of the rain/snow line may result in downed tree branches/limbs, increasing the risk for isolated power outages.

• Gusty winds may cause scattered tree damage, isolated power outages, and possible structure damage, especially in eastern Massachusetts.

Chief asks everyone to stay off Hull's roads

Fire Chief Chris Russo issued a storm update this afternoon, just after high tide. While he reopened the roads after the tide water receded, he said he expects to close them again in advance of tonight's high tide, around midnight. The chief, who heads up Hull's Emergency Management Team, is asking that – unless it's vital – please stay off the roads.

Here's the gist of his urgent message:

"There are two – possibly three – more tides that will be worse! I will be ordering the roads closed again tonight when we are again flooded. If there are urgent items needed, please take care of them quickly this afternoon, when the roads are open.

We are seeing people all over the South Shore making very poor decisions and travelling into these waters. When darkness sets in later and the water comes back we don't want anyone to lose their life."

Coast Guard warns mariners, prepares for storm, coastal flooding in Northeast

The Coast Guard is advising mariners and the public along the Massachusetts and Rhode Island coast to exercise vigilance and extreme caution Thursday night through Saturday as a powerful storm approaches.

Conditions are expected to deteriorate Thursday night. Along with heavy rain and strong wind gusts, high tide cycles from Friday into Saturday are at risk for widespread, major coastal flooding. The intensity and height of the predicted storm’s wave action combined with the astronomically high tides, and the long duration of this coastal storm, could significantly exceed the coastal flooding damage experienced during the nor’easter this past January.

The forecasted high winds, rain, coastal flooding, and heavy seas will make operation in the maritime environment dangerous.

Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod aircraft have been flying storm tracks ahead of the storm to warn mariners of the impending storm. Click here for audio of the broadcast.

Coast Guard Cutter Spencer, a 270-foot cutter homeported in Boston, will be staged off the coast to respond to offshore search and rescue cases.

Due to the extreme conditions some Coast Guard assets may have limited ability to respond to vessels in distress. Therefore, waterfront operators, mariners, fishing vessels, recreational boaters, and the general public should exercise extreme caution as conditions begin to deteriorate on Thursday night.

Mariners and recreational boaters are warned to take the following precautions to protect their vessels and their crews:

• If a storm is approaching, do not go out to sea.

• Double-check lines when securing your boat. Take precautions for items stored loosely aboard.

• Secure all paddle craft and ensure they are not located in or near the tidal surge zone.

• Contact local marinas for advice on how best to secure your vessel.

• If you must get underway, create a float plan and send it to your friends and families before getting underway. Ensure that you have the proper signaling devices onboard your vessel and the correct amount of life jackets onboard.

• The storm is likely to produce dangerous winds and coastal flash flooding. Personal watercraft and paddle craft users are advised to stay off the water due extremely hazardous sea conditions. Also, swimmers, surfers, and wind surfers are strongly urged to stay out of the water during this period of heavy weather. 

• Always wear a proper life jacket when on a boat or personal watercraft.

All boaters and those living along coastal communities are urged to secure their small craft, including canoes, kayaks, and paddle craft, due to the expected high winds, heavy seas, and storm surge. Paddle craft owners are urged to pull and secure vessels well above high water levels to avoid craft being pulled off the shore. Once at sea, unmanned craft often result in complex, unnecessary searches thereby reducing Coast Guard's capability to respond to actual distress at sea. Also, please clearly mark all paddle craft with owner's name and contact information.

Coast Guard Sector Boston’s area of responsibility extends from Plymouth, MA, to the Massachusetts/New Hampshire border and is expected to be heavily impacted.

“Our primary concern is ensuring the safety of the people and mariners who live and work throughout the New England coastal community,” said Capt. Claudia Gelzer, Commander, Coast Guard Sector Boston. “We strongly advise everyone to stay vigilant, pay attention to any weather updates, and avoid putting themselves or their loved ones at risk as the storm passes off the coast.”

For additional information on the storm, visit the National Weather Service: