The region was bracing Thursday morning for a nor’easter to slam into Southern New England, bringing damaging winds and buckets of rainfall.
Here’s a look at what to expect.
National Weather Service forecasters said “strong to damaging winds” were expected to peak Thursday afternoon into the evening, especially along the coastline of Southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The winds are expected to diminish Friday into Friday night.
For Boston and Foxborough (where the Patriots take on the Giants Thursday night), that means maximum wind gusts of up to 40 miles per hour. The Plymouth and New Bedford area could see gusts of up to 50 miles per hour, while Cape Cod could see winds of up to 60 miles per hour. That number rises to 65 miles per hour on Nantucket.
According to the weather service, maximum sustained winds could reach up to 23 miles per hour in Boston, 19 miles per hour in Foxborough, 28 miles per hour in Plymouth, and up to 42 miles per hour on Nantucket.
A wind advisory was issued early Thursday through 6 a.m. Friday for much of the Eastern Massachusetts coast and southeastern part of the state (i.e. Brockton and Plymouth), with forecasters cautioning: “Use extra caution when driving . . . Secure outdoor objects.”
Meanwhile, a more serious high wind warning has been issued for the Cape and Islands for the same timeframe, with the strongest winds expected across Nantucket.
“People should avoid being outside in forested areas and around trees and branches,” forecasters said. “If possible, remain in the lower levels of your home during the windstorm, and avoid windows. Use caution if you must drive.”
After the rain Wednesday into Thursday, forecasters warned that an additional 3 to 6 inches of precipitation could fall through Friday, meaning storm totals could reach as high as 8 inches in some parts of the state.
From Thursday through Friday night, Boston could see another 1.5 to 2 inches of rain, while Foxborough could see 2 to 3 inches. Some parts of Southeastern Massachusetts, such as New Bedford, could see 3 to 4 inches, while Plymouth and the Cape and Islands could see 4 to 6 inches.
Forecasters also warned that “significant” urban and poor drainage flooding is likely during the storm, especially for coastal communities, during high tide and storm surge.
A flood watch has been posted for much of Southeastern Massachusetts through Friday morning, with the heaviest rainfall expected across Plymouth County to the upper Cape, forecasters said. The weather service said more dire flood warnings could take also effect later Thursday.
Coastal flooding and storm surge
Forecasters expect “minor to moderate” coastal flooding Thursday into Friday, and issued a coastal flood advisory for the Massachusetts coastline stretching from Boston through the Cape and Islands. The advisory is in effect from 9 p.m. Thursday through 1 a.m. Friday. (The advisory says there is “no significant threat to life,” noting there could be “minimal” effects on property and only the most vulnerable shore roads and basements would probably be affected.)
Meanwhile, forecasters also expect “storm force winds” and a storm surge around 2 feet — or even possibly higher over multiple tide cycles — along the coast, as well as waves that could reach as high as 25 feet.
Significant beach erosion is anticipated, as well as flooding near shore roads, and up to 1 foot of inundation above ground level is possible in low-lying areas near shorelines and tidal waterways.
Nantucket is expected to be hit especially hard by the storm.
[Coastal Flood Update] Very strong winds up to 53 mph at #Nantucket resulting in building seas of up to 6 ft in Nantucket sound along with a #storm surge near 2 ft. This will push water levels to just under #flood stage but wave action likely to yield some minor coastal flooding pic.twitter.com/oLXwlrwKT3— NWS Boston (@NWSBoston) October 10, 2019
Timing of the storm
A forecast model showed that bands of rain would be pivoting inland from the ocean, hitting much of Eastern Massachusetts Thursday afternoon into the evening.
On Thursday morning, National Weather Service meteorologists said the storm was “not an easy forecast,” saying that any shift north or south in the system could change outcomes “considerably” for the region.
Not an easy forecast. Biggest headache w/ the wind & rain forecasts that ultimately influence both wave & surge activity is the juxtaposition of the high to our N & the storm center to our S.— NWS Boston (@NWSBoston) October 10, 2019
Any shift N or S between the two can change outcomes considerably for S New England. pic.twitter.com/wcHgpMfk4m
The weather service said around 6:15 a.m. that wind gusts of up to 45 miles per hour and sustained winds of 25 to 35 miles per hour had already been reported in Southeastern Massachusetts.
[615a] Courtesy of @weatherflow, at this moment seeing wind gusts of 35 to 45 mph across southeast MA including the Cape & Islands. Sustained winds of 25 to 35 mph!— NWS Boston (@NWSBoston) October 10, 2019
Seen a couple of tweets about power outages across the Outer Cape.
We welcome any & all reports this morning. pic.twitter.com/s3ziGzruUI
High waves already reported
Some people in coastal areas were already reporting seeing high, crashing waves along their shorelines, including in Salisbury, Marblehead, and off Nantucket.
Meanwhile, some wind damage was already being reported on the Cape and Islands.