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Winter storm expected to bring high tides, some coastal flooding to Mass. and R.I.

Pre-storm surf arrived along a seawall on Glades Road in Scituate on Monday.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

The storm expected to dump snow and rain on the region overnight into Tuesday could bring high tides and flooding to eastern Massachusetts, according to the National Weather Service.

Forecasters posted on Twitter that 12- to 18-foot seas are possible off Massachusetts while gales with 5- to 10-foot seas could emerge off Rhode Island through Wednesday.

Seas could rise as high as 22 feet Tuesday off Nantucket, and 20 feet or higher in waters off the Gloucester, Winthrop, and Duxbury areas, as well as on the Outer Cape, according to a NWS forecast posted to its website.


Coastal flooding could materialize along the eastern part of the state and Cape Cod, with three high tide cycles from 4 a.m. to 5 a.m. Tuesday through 5 a.m. to 6 a.m. Wednesday, according to the weather service.

High tides for much of the affected area Tuesday should peak between roughly 4:30 a.m. and 4:40 a.m., and again in the early evening, shortly after 5 p.m., according to tide charts published on the state’s official website.

National Weather Service surf zone advisory for Tuesday.NWS

Widespread “minor coastal flooding” is expected, the weather service said, with “pockets” of moderate flooding possible.

“Powerful coastal storm will bring several impacts late [Tuesday] thru early Wed,” forecasters wrote. “Greatest impacts are wet snow weighing on trees & powerlines & damaging wind gusts. Coastal flooding near the Tue PM high tide.”

Snow accumulation will be greatest in parts of Western and Central Massachusetts, particularly in higher elevations, forecasters said.

Wet snow began to fall in those areas above 600 feet in elevation on Monday night, with heavy snow expected to fall in the northern Worcester Hills and Berkshires. In a tweet, the weather service said it was expecting “an extremely impactful/major winter storm” in those areas above 1,000 feet.


“We expect 1 to 2 feet of heavy wet snow along with power outages overnight into Tuesday!” the weather service said.

The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency said outages are possible and advised residents to keep electronic devices charged, ensure smoke and carbon monoxide detectors have fresh batteries, and make sure generators are functioning.

Meanwhile, the US Army Corps of Engineers stands ready to employ its hurricane barriers in Providence and New Bedford if necessary.

“We are monitoring the forecasts and will be prepared to operate the barriers if conditions warrant a closure,” the corps said in a statement.

The storm could also hamper travel on public transportation Tuesday.

The MBTA said all ferry service will be suspended Tuesday due to the expected high winds. Regular weekday bus service is expected to operate, but some buses may be re-routed to avoid steep hills, tight corners, and narrow streets if conditions worsen, the MBTA said.

Subway rail service will be in operation, but the T reminded riders that “longer headways continue on the Red, Orange, Blue, Green, and Mattapan Lines this week as MBTA engineers continue to perform repair validations and speed verifications following a Department of Public Utilities site visit last week.”

In Scituate, town officials said some low-lying areas could see flooding from the storm.

“These winds will stir up our coastal waters bringing nearshore waves to 10′-15′ along with a potential 2′-3′ storm surge,” officials said in a statement.

Town officials advised coastal homeowners to be prepared.


“With these moderate high tides and strong easterly winds, coastal homes should make their properties safe by securing outside equipment and boarding up east-facing windows and doors,” the statement said.

In Eastham, fire officials urged residents to plan ahead if they have to travel.

“If you have travel plans or are home alone, please prepare now before this nor’easter arrives in full force tomorrow!!” they posted on Facebook Monday morning.

Carlos Munoz of the Globe staff and correspondent Nick Stoico contributed to this report.

Travis Andersen can be reached at