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Winter Storm Riley Batters Barnstable County

  • The midday high tide forced the closure of Route 6A in Sandwich and Dennis
  • The midnight tides are expected to reach and exceed the levels experience at noon
  • Winds have been steady at tropical storm force with gusts exceeding 80 mph in several locations
  • The County is experiencing power outages in the majority of towns

BARNSTABLE (MA) March 2, 2018 – The Barnstable County Regional Emergency Planning Committee (BCREPC) held a conference call at 4 p.m. March 2, 2018, to assess the current and future effects of Storm Riley.

The winds have been holding steady at tropical storm force in the range of 35 to 45 mph with gusts at hurricane force. A gust of 81 mph was recorded atop the Old Jail building in the Barnstable County complex around 5 p.m. An 88 mph gust was reported in Woods Hole at 5:07 p.m.

At the midday high tide, Route 6A was closed in several locations: near the Sandwich-Barnstable line and at two points in East Dennis. In Sandwich, one person had to be rescue from a house and three people from motor vehicles. As the storm continues, the waves in the southern portion of Cape Cod Bay are running at 12 to 13 feet. Waves in the Atlantic east of Cape Cod are expected to grow to reach 30 to 35 feet.

The next high-tide cycle around midnight Friday and into early Saturday promises to reach and exceed the levels during the midday Friday tides. Likewise, the Saturday early afternoon tide cycle will repeat the pattern with the strong winds piling up water along the shore. These conditions have emergency officials very concerned.

Erosion along the outer Cape and into Cape Cod Bay is expected to be significant. Any areas that were inundated during the January 2018 storm are expected to be inundated again. Anyone living in these threatened areas is strongly advised to evacuate and seek shelter inland.

Electric utility Eversource has tree and line crews working to manage the power outages across the Cape, which stood at around 6,000 at 5:30 p.m. Citizens are advised to stay indoors and off the roads, and avoid downed limbs and power lines.

The Barnstable County Multi-Agency Coordination Center (MACC) will continue around-the-clock operations for the foreseeable future under the management of the Barnstable County All Hazards Incident Management Team.

No Regional Emergency Shelter System activation is planned but shelter partner agencies have been asked to monitor the situation.