Weekend Winter Storm Watch Issued For Cape and Islands

Snow MapHYANNIS –  A winter storm watch has been issued by the National Weather Service for Cape Cod and the Islands from early Saturday to Sunday morning.

Forecasters expect the snow to begin early Saturday, with 1-to-3 inches accumulating during the day, and another 2-to-4 inches through the overnight hours into Sunday.

Winds will also be strong during the watch period, coming out of the northeast at 15-to-25 mph, gusting to 50 mph.

The brunt of the storm is still expected to say south of New England, with the Mid-Atlantic states under the gun for up to two feet of snow.

The Barnstable County Regional Emergency Planning Committee held a conference call at 1 p.m. Thursday to discuss the storm.

The group will make a decision on whether or not to activate the Regional Shelter System would be made when there is more certainty about the storm’s track and intensity.

Regional shelter partners have been asked to notify their members to remain on alert. The committee also advises residents to remain “weather aware” and be prepared for winter weather conditions.

Eversource Energy said they are prepared for the winter storm.

“We prepare year-round for storms like this and are ready to address any damage to the electric system,” said Peter Clarke, Senior Vice President of Emergency Preparedness for Eversource. “While we may not be able to control the weather in New England, we know that our ongoing system improvements are helping us to better handle whatever Mother Nature throws at us.”

If conditions warrant, the Town of Barnstable will re-activate the Storm Alert feature on their website (www.townofbarnstable.us) which shares actual road plowing activities by the Department of Public Works. They also have a new storm line (508-862-4636) that will be updated with that same information.

The Town of Dennis has implemented a parking ban from 8 a.m. Saturday until 8 a.m. Monday. Vehicles parked on roadways may be towed at owner’s expense.

Strong winds and mild to moderate coastal flooding associated with this storm are likely across portions of Eastern Massachusetts Saturday and Sunday. High astronomical tides will combine with strong onshore Northeast winds to yield a risk for minor to perhaps pockets of moderate coastal flooding.

A High Wind Watch has been issued for Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard from Saturday afternoon through Sunday morning.  The strongest winds will occur Saturday afternoon and evening.

The greatest risk of coastal flooding would occur from south of Boston into Plymouth County to the Upper Cape, including Nantucket.  The most vulnerable tide cycle appears to be the late Sunday morning to midday high tide.

The National Weather Service says the blizzard that will hit the Mid-Atlantic could rank near the top 10 ever to hit the region.

Meteorologist Paul Kocin with the service’s Weather Prediction Center says snowfall as heavy as 1 to 3 inches an hour could continue for 24 hours or more in the area. That puts estimates at more than 2 feet for Washington, a foot to 18 inches for Philadelphia and 8 inches to a foot in New York.

Five states and the District of Columbia have declared states of emergency ahead of the slow-moving system. The federal government announced Thursday night that its offices would close at noon Friday.

Weather service director Louis Uccellini says resident should expect brutally high winds, dangerous inland flooding, white-out conditions and even the possibility of thunder snow.

The federal government has announced that it will be closing its offices in the Washington, D.C., area at noon Friday.

The Office of Personnel Management says offices will be open Friday morning, although non-emergency employees have the option to telework or use unscheduled leave.

Those who do come into work are being told they must leave before noon, when all federal offices will be closed.

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