BOSTON - The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency issued a Hurricane Sandy awareness statement on Saturday.
Tropical Storm Sandy, with 70 mph sustained winds, continues to move north-northeast approximately 335 miles off the coast of Charleston, SC. Sandy is expected to once again strengthen to a hurricane and turn northwest over the weekend, curling inwards towards the Eastern Seaboard. The National Hurricane Center predicts Sandy will make landfall as a tropical storm somewhere along the New Jersey coast sometime between Monday evening and early Tuesday morning.
Given the large geographic size of Sandy, southern New England will experience moderate to major impacts. In Massachusetts, damaging winds, associated power outages, heavy rains, freshwater flooding, as well as coastal flooding and beach erosion on both south- and east-facing shores, are expected. Impacts are anticipated to be on par with or more significant than Tropical Storm Irene.
Potential impacts of Sandy include:
High Seas: Sandy is predicted to cause unusually high seas (25 feet or greater) off the coast of New England with seas building Sunday evening and peaking Monday and Tuesday. Strong gale and storm force winds are expected with hurricane force gusts possible. Seas will be dangerous and potentially life-threatening, even for large vessels. National Weather Service (NWS) advises all vessels be in port by Sunday morning.
Winds: Damaging winds and associated widespread power outages are likely. Wind damage may be exacerbated in southern New England as most trees still have foliage at this time of year. Inland Massachusetts could experience sustained 30-40 mph winds with gusts of 50-60 mph. Along the coast, winds of 40-50 mph with gusts 60-80 mph may occur.
Coastal Flooding: Both east- and south-facing coasts in Massachusetts may experience moderate to major coastal flooding and beach erosion during the Monday and Tuesday high tide cycles. For south-facing coasts, the Monday evening high tide is of most concern, with 3-5 feet of storm surge expected. For east-facing coasts, the Monday midday and midnight high tide cycles of are most concern, although there is a possibility that the peak period of surge will occur between tide cycles. East-facing coasts may see 2-4 feet of surge, with the possibility of up to 5 feet of surge.
Rain/Flooding: Rainfalls amounts strongly depend on the storm track. The National Weather Service has a high degree of confidence that Massachusetts will experience at least 2 to 5 inches of rainfall Sunday night through Wednesday with locally higher amounts possible, especially in the Berkshires. Depending on the precise track of the storm, which may not be known until Sunday at the earliest, the state may experience greater amounts of rain. There is a risk of urban flooding as well as small stream and river flooding. Rain is expected to begin Sunday night and potentially last through mid-week.
MEMA is actively monitoring the storm and conducting preparedness activities. As of this morning, MEMA continues to conduct pre-incident planning with its public- and private-sector partners, focusing on the following functional areas:
Hurricane Preparedness Tips for the General Public:
MEMA encourages smartphone users to download the free ping4alerts! app. This app is available free of charge for iPhone and Android phones and receives severe weather alerts from the National Weather Service and emergency information from MEMA based on the user's location. Learn more at http://www.mass.gov/mema/mobileapp.
For additional information and resources, visit:
Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency at www.mass.gov/mema (Hurricane preparedness tips and other preparedness information are available through the "Hurricane" link on MEMA's homepage).
MEMA's Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/MassachusettsEMA
MEMA Twitter: @MassEMA
Federal Emergency Management Agency at www.fema.gov
National Hurricane Center website at www.nhc.noaa.gov
National Weather Service/Taunton at www.weather.gov/boston
National Weather Service/Albany, NY at www.weather.gov/albany
Mass211 at www.mass211.org