Storm forecast for the holiday weekend: here’s what to expect
A two-part blast of heavy weather is poised to strike the Cape and Islands as we head into the holiday weekend. It’s expected to impact travel plans across the region and potentially bring dangerous power outages.
Here’s the forecast.
Part 1: Storm Warning for Friday
- A Storm Warning and High Wind Warning are in effect from the National Weather service from 1am – 7pm Friday.
- South winds blowing 30+ mph, with gusts exceeding 50 mph.
- Ferry cancelations likely.
- 2 inches or more of rain possible, potential for localized flooding.
- Power outages possible.
- Mild temperatures across the region, from 45° to 55°.
Part 2: Freezing temperatures Friday night through the weekend
- Beginning evening Friday, temperatures are expected to plunge as much as 25 degrees and stay below freezing for the holiday weekend.
- Overnight low of 20°, daytime highs Saturday and Sunday in the upper 20s.
- Standing water on roads will freeze, making driving hazardous.
- Power outages could leave homes and residents facing extreme cold.
- Winds continue 25-35mph with stronger gusts
National Weather Service issues timeline for the storm
A powerful storm is expected to impact the area Thursday evening into Friday morning bringing heavy rain, strong to damaging wind gusts, and minor to moderate coastal flooding.— MEMA (@MassEMA) December 21, 2022
Temps will quickly crash into the teens on Saturday morning with bitterly cold wind chill potential. pic.twitter.com/Xb3WZV1p5U
An estimated 2,250,000 people in Massachusetts are expected to travel this holiday weekend.
AAA New England has some advice, if you're one of them.
Spokesman Mark Schieldrop says that if you're driving, try to avoid I90, I95, and I93 on Friday afternoon and evening, unless you like being in bumper-to-bumper traffic.
He says it'll be a nasty mix of commuters, holiday travelers, and bad weather.
If you’re flying Friday, Massport says you should consider re-booking. Many airlines are already waiving change fees.
Or going by rail? Amtrak says to expect full trains this holiday season
Many people switched their holiday travel plans because of the storm, which is already impacting the Midwest.
Massport Aviation Director Ed Freni says that Logan Airport is equipped to handle the elements, but that can't be said at other airports around the country.
"It all depends on what airplanes are impacted by the system in the Midwest,” Freni said of travel delays. “So I suggest people check with their airline before coming in to Logan."
Freni advises getting to the airport 2 hours early for domestic flights, and 3 hours early for international flights.
Meantime, Dr. Zachary Zobel of the Woodwell Climate Research Center tells CAI that, while every storm can't automatically be linked to climate change, certain trends cannot be ignored.
"Over the last couple of decades there is a growing body of evidence that shows that more arctic warming is leading to a more amplified jet stream which leads to a more extreme weather events," Zobel said.
Locally, with this storm, Zobel said, south facing areas could get hit the hardest.
"I would be mostly concerned with the wind. But for the folks living on the immediate coast, beach erosion is going to be significant,” Zobel said. “Storm surge is going to be a factor in this storm."
Utility companies standing by
Eversource says it is preparing for the possibility of significant power outages.
Based on past storms, the utility says outages affecting more than 70,000 Massachusetts customers and lasting more than 2 days are possible.
Regional operations chief Craig Hallstrom said they are pre-positioning assets, which includes mobile command vans and trailers.
"Once the storm hits, then we'll take those pieces of equipment, and if there's an area that's particularly hard hit, we'll set it up in a parking lot and run the restoration from there," Hallstrom said.
Hallstrom said they also have several hundred overhead line and tree crews on standby.
The goal, he said, is to work hard to get power restored by Christmas morning, should there be extended outages.