The worst of the weather is predicted for areas south of Boston, but no one is taking its impact here lightly.
“This is something we need to keep our eyes on,” said Salem State University meteorologist Arthur Francis.
Of course, we’ve all been through this before only to see the feared storm blow itself out before it gets here. Francis acknowledges that possibility.
Yet he adds, “This one is more likely to be as they’ve predicted. ... It’s certainly going to be a mind-boggler.”
The wind and the pull of the full moon on the tides working in combination, are reasons for worry, Francis said.
“We are going to have strong winds with gusts of up to 60 miles per hour,” he said. “And they won’t be letting up for many hours. ... The trees, with this happening hour after hour, down they’ll come.”
With high tides at noon and midnight, the sustained winds could play havoc with seaside communities, Francis said. “In Marblehead and Plum Island, all along the coast. ... When the moon is full, we get a tide that is high anyway. This time, there’s going to be water coming over.”
In Marblehead, for example, he predicts that the direction of the wind could result in water breaching the causeway and perhaps flooding on Front Street. In Salem, he warns, there’s a reason that Canal Street has that name. In the past, it has seen flooding, as has Jefferson Avenue.
Although snow is not expected here, the storm is not dissimilar to the famed Blizzard of ’78, which caused massive flooding and sent a few South Shore houses plunging onto the beach.
With falling trees and flooding, the state has predicted power outages. In response to the possibility that some people will be driven from their homes, the Red Cross has established shelters, including one at Newbury Elementary School. That facility opened at 8 last night.
The Red Cross also offers common-sense advice for those preparing for the storm — get cash, make a plan, buy water, have medications on hand and turn down the temperature in the refrigerator. A free Hurricane App is available for the tech-savvy at RedCross.org/mobileapps. Others can call 800-REDCROSS if in distress or to volunteer or make a donation for disaster relief.
Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.