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Hazardous Weather Update: Wind and Coastal Flooding Expected to Impact Cape & Islands Thursday Night through Saturday Afternoon

The National Weather Service is forecasting a powerful storm system to bring high winds, heavy rain, and inland/coastal flooding to the region beginning Thursday night.

Rain is expected to overspread the region from southwest to northeast starting early Thursday evening and last through Friday evening. Total rainfall is forecast to be 2” to 2.5” with isolated higher amounts possible. Precipitation may end with a dusting of snow over high terrain.

Strong wind gusts are expected to begin overnight Thursday and to peak Friday afternoon and evening. Gusts up to 60-65 MPH are possible along the coast and up to 50-60 MPH inland during this time. Wind gusts of up 40 MPH may persist into early Saturday, especially over the Cape and Islands.

Widespread minor coastal flooding along south- and east-facing shores is likely around the Friday morning high tide, with pockets of moderate flooding possible north of Boston from Revere to Plum Island, as well as in Edgartown Harbor. A second round of minor coastal flooding during the Friday evening high tide may occur along the South Coast.

After the storm passes out of the region Friday night, weather conditions are forecast to be dry but cold and blustery over the holiday weekend. Wind chills overnight Friday into Saturday are forecast to be in the single digits, dropping below zero in western and central Massachusetts.

Potential impacts from the storm include:

  • Strong winds Thursday night through Saturday morning may blow around unsecured objects and bring down tree limbs and power lines.
  • Localized flooding in urban and poor-drainage areas from excessive rainfall may impact both Friday morning and evening commutes.
  • Moderate to heavy rain combined with snowmelt is expected to lead to minor flooding along creeks, streams, and rivers in western Massachusetts on Friday.
  • Areas where moderate coastal flooding occurs may experience:
    • Widespread flooding of vulnerable shore roads and basements of shore homes
    • Breaking waves washing debris onto coastal roads
    • Numerous road closures
    • Damage from wave action to vulnerable structures near the high tide line such as docks or house decks/porches
    • Risk to life for those who place themselves in unnecessary danger by driving around barricades or viewing surf from piers or jetties
  • Significant beach erosion may occur along south- and southeast-facing shores.
  • Temperatures are forecast to drop rapidly below freezing as the storm passes out of the region Friday night. While strong winds will dry out most surfaces quickly once rain subsides, icing is possible in areas with standing water or where surfaces remain wet.

Coastal flood watches have been issued through December 23rd at 2:00 PM EST. The high wind warning for Cape Cod and the Islands is set to expire December 24th at 7:00 PM EST.

Residents and visitors are urged to be prepared for potential power outages. Please visit Winter Storm Safety Tips | Mass.gov for winter storm preparedness tips.

The Barnstable County Regional Emergency Planning Committee (BCREPC) is on standby in case weather conditions necessitate activation of the Multi-Agency Coordination Center (MACC), which provides emergency resources to the towns in the event of a severe weather emergency.