Major Nor’easter Rips Across Cape and Islands

HYANNIS – A major Nor’easter blasted Cape Cod and the Islands Thursday, with snow, rain and strong winds hammering the region.

The storm has had a major impact on the Cape’s coastline, flooding roads and damaging homes, especially on the bay side of Cape Cod.

Sections of Route 6A became impassible and dangerous Thursday afternoon. Multiple people were rescued from a truck that had become submerged in 4 feet of water in West Barnstable. 6A was also flooded in Sandwich, Dennis, and Brewster. 

At Town Neck Beach in Sandwich, emergency personnel rescued two people from a car that had become partially submerged in the parking lot.

In Yarmouth, police reported that the boardwalk in Gray’s Beach was being destroyed by the storm. Police urged residents to stay away from the coastline.

In Chatham, evacuations were underway in the Morris Island area after water breached a barrier island.

The National Weather Service posted a winter storm warning, high wind warning and coastal flood warning for the region until 1 a.m. Friday.

Just off Cape, blizzard warnings were in place along the immediate South Coast and South Shore where more than a foot of snow fell.

Forecasters said as the rain transitions to a wet snow throughout the afternoon moderate and heavy snowfall rates are expected before tapering off later this evening.

Accumulations of 3-to-6 inches were expected for the Upper Cape, 2-to-5 for the Mid Cape and lesser amounts for the Lower and Outer Cape and Nantucket.

As the storm passes concerns shift quickly to falling temperatures as flash freezing is expected on the Cape and Islands and coastal Plymouth County.

The Barnstable County Regional Emergency Planning Committee has not activated the shelter system but officials are poised to activate shelters on the Cape if required. Spokesman Kevin Morley says they are now focusing on the quickly falling temperatures.

“This storm has a menu of threats and we are just through a couple of the early courses and now we are coming into what could be the main course,” Morley said.

Temperatures are expected to fall into the mid-teens tonight as wind gusts continue to remain up to 65 mph.

Morley said all shelter partners were on standby and ready to activate if necessary.

The Regional Emergency Shelter partners including the American Red Cross (ARC), the Cape Cod Medical Reserve Corps (CCMRC), the Cape Cod Disaster Animal Response Team, the Lower Cape Animal Shelter Team (LCAST), and Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) have placed their volunteers on standby and are ready to respond should the need arise.

Those volunteer agencies work in close collaboration with Barnstable County and police and fire departments across Cape Cod.

“Based on current forecasts, we anticipate the coming storm to impact much of our Massachusetts service area with heavy snow and high winds throughout the day on Thursday,” said Eversource Vice President of Electric Field Operations Doug Foley.

“Our ongoing system improvements and tree maintenance program play an important role in our ability to minimize storm-related outages and, when outages do occur, we work to restore power as safely and as quickly as possible.”

The storm will effect transportation across the region through the day.

The Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority has cancelled all fixed route service. Only emergency DART buses will run early this morning. Plymouth and Brockton and Peter Pan will not operate today.

Hyline has cancelled their trips to Nantucket today. The Steamship Authority is running on a boat-by-boat basis.

The Barnstable Municipal Airport was open Thursday morning and will re-evaluate conditions later. 

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation was advising the public to avoid or minimize travel on Thursday.

“We are closely monitoring the winter weather that is expected to begin during the overnight hours and impact travel throughout the morning and evening commutes on Thursday,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack.

“Our snow and ice personnel will be treating and clearing our roadways and infrastructure as conditions warrant and we advise everyone to consider measures such as working from home, delaying travel plans, and if travel is mandatory, allowing extra time for commutes and dressing warmly.” 

“Safety is our greatest priority and we encourage the public to avoid traveling on Thursday if at all possible and make smart choices if they are thinking of heading out onto the roadways,” said Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver.

“Those who must travel and get behind the wheel should exercise safe driving habits, reduce their speeds, and give plenty of space to snow and ice equipment in order to safely reach their destinations.”

In the worst storms this season, MassDOT’s Highway Division will be able to utilize up to 700 staff members to perform snow and ice removal operations on more than 15,000 lanes miles of roadway throughout the Commonwealth.

MassDOT will activate more than 4,000 pieces of equipment across the state to clear the roadways.

Governor Charlie Baker announced that state offices will be closed Thursday for non-emergency, executive branch state employees.

“To prioritize public safety, we are asking everyone to stay off the roads and to use public transportation if necessary so road crews can safely clear snow,” said Governor Charlie Baker.

“Due to the risk of power outages and coastal flooding in many parts of the state, we urge residents to be prepared, help neighbors and be mindful of local notices throughout the storm.”

“This is winter in New England,” Baker said. “We’re asking everyone to remain vigilant and look out for each other.

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