With heavy snowfall up to 2 feet, damaging winds and coastal flooding all possible as a major nor'easter is poised to develop late Friday, people across New England prepare for what could be a big hit.
Power Outages Possible
The winds from this storm could produce power outages. National Grid said Wednesday that they’re "ready to handle whatever this storm may bring," and that they‘re preparing their employees and securing external resources.
Also on Wednesday, Chris McKinnon, a spokesperson with Eversource, said they’re looking at hiring hundreds of extra crews for the storm, and can scale up or down depending on the storm’s path.
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McKinnon is also urging people to make sure they have a storm safety kit ready to go. Information on what to include in an emergency kit can be found on the FEMA website.
Traffic, Public Transportation and Parking
This storm has the potential for significant impacts on travel. At the height of the storm, currently expected between 5 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday, visibility could be problematic or roads could be impassable. If you use public transit, check ahead to see if your route is affected.
Additionally, many towns and cities will have parking bans for the storm. Check with your local authorities to find out the rules and restrictions in your area, and plan accordingly.
Plow Drivers and Public Works Crews Prepare for Heavy Snowfall
Plow drivers and public works crews will have their work cut out for them in this storm, which could drop around 12"-18" of snow in the Boston area, and more in jackpot areas. It is expected to be a long-duration storm, starting late Friday and going into the afternoon on Saturday.
"This is not a race. Take your time, be safe out there," Mark Ryan, Norwood's Department of Public Works director said Thursday. In Norwood they have about 65 pieces of equipment ready to go.
In Foxboro, which is expected to see some of the highest totals, DPW Director Chris Gallagher said they were readying the trucks Friday and waiting to see how the forecast lines up. A few weeks ago the town had COVID-related staffing shortages, but now they're back to full staff.
Both directors ask for patience and for drivers to stay off the roads as much as they can.
"One is the things I’d stay off the road as much as possible don’t go near the plows when they’re out on the roads, and for kids when there is a big snowball somewhere near the road try to stay away from it," Gallagher said.
Coastal Flooding a Concern
Residents who live along the coast should prepare for the possibility of flooding with this storm — the timing coincides with high tide.
In Scituate, the town was recommending voluntary evacuations for coastal residents. Officials advised residents planning to leave do so Friday evening, or by 6 a.m. Saturday at the latest, two hours before high tide.
"It's frightening, as it always is," said Scituate resident Bette Kincaid, who has seen her share of nor'easters over the last 25 years living along the seawall. "We've been through it before, we hope our house is strong enough to withstand some good waves, certainly the water will flood the streets."
Town officials are suggesting that residents in flood-prone areas board up and head out until the storm passes.
"That way, we don't have to worry about coming to get you," said Scituate Town Administrator Jim Boudreau. "If you can go someplace else, go someplace else."
The Cedar Point Association, about 120 homes along the coastline near the lighthouse, has been urging residents to be prepared.
"I think the main problem for us will be if the power goes out, because it's going to be very cold after the storm and everybody worries about frozen pipes," said Dave Ball, the association's president.
"I think sometimes, people get a little complacent. I mean, we really haven't had a significant storm since, really, 2018," said Marshfield Harbormaster Michael Dimeo.
Dimeo is reminding folks to stay on the safe side this weekend.
"Heed the warnings of carbon monoxide, you know, leaving your generators away from closed spaces, prepare for three to four days of potential no power, check on the elderly ones, and just stay off the roadway. That's the main thing," he said.
Marshfield resident Mike Bradley filled up gas cans for his generator at a gas station off Ocean Street as people in the area prepare to get clobbered with about a foot and a half of snow.
"When we look at the news, we see the 18-plus [inches of snow] right on the Brant Rock area. So I've got two more gas cans at home that I have to go get and bring back and fill up," he said.
Bradley was gassing up Thursday night to avoid a repeat from last fall.
"Last time we needed it, we needed to go to Braintree to get gas," he explained. "Everybody was out. So I'm trying to get a couple days ahead."
As long as residents take the threat seriously, Dimeo is confident they'll weather the storm.
"New Englanders, they've been through it before, and we'll get through it again," he said. "I think this one will be one for the history books."
Ellen Moniz, who lives on Plum Island of Newburyport, said she's still drying out from the last storm.
"The last storm I got 3 feet of water in the basement, lost the heating system and washer dryer," she said.
Newburyport officials said while emergency crews are ready to go, there's only so much to be done in these areas.
"Plum Island is not necessarily an issue you solve necessarily, it is one you have to manage and maintain," Mayor Sean Reardon said.