Batten down the hatches. Heavy rain and high winds are on the way

Boats on Jamaica Pond were toppled on their sides from the wind last week.
Boats on Jamaica Pond were toppled on their sides from the wind last week. David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

Batten down the hatches.

A powerful coastal storm is expected to sweep up the Interstate 95 corridor Thursday, bringing periods of heavy rain and strong winds, the National Weather Service says.

Rain is expected to begin falling around 5 p.m. Wednesday in Western Massachusetts and to roll in to Boston around 8 or 9 p.m. Some areas could get 3 to 4 inches of rain, with pockets of 5-inch totals, and flooding is expected in urban and poor drainage areas, forecasters said.

Winds at times could be strong enough to cause damage, bringing down trees — which will catch the wind more because they still have their leaves — and power lines. Gusts greater than 60 miles per hour could rake the region, particularly in coastal areas.


The highest winds were expected to arrive around daybreak Thursday or shortly thereafter.

The forecasters said they were expecting a rapidly intensifying cyclone, or “bomb cyclone,” with pressure bottoming out at around 975 millibars, which would be a record for October, below the record of 982.4 millibars set in 2006.

“It certainly looks like it would at least threaten that record,” said Andrew Loconto, a meteorologist with the weather service. “It’s a pretty powerful system for mid-October.”

Forecasters were also keeping an eye out for possible thunderstorms and possibly even a tornado.

“Forecast soundings suggest a window of opportunity for surface-based convection and perhaps a damaging wind gust or brief tornado,” from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday, the weather service’s Storm Prediction Center said.

Forecasters issued a variety of warnings and advisories about the coming wind and rain, including warnings for mariners in the storm-tossed seas off the coast.

Forecasters said the storm could also affect the earlier part of the morning commute Thursday on the Mass Pike, Route 128, and north of Interstate 495.


The storm is expected to exit the region later Thursday, with high pressure moving in and bringing cool, windy conditions the rest of Thursday through Friday.

Milder temperatures with continued dry conditions are expected this weekend with the high pressure overhead, forecasters said.

Emily Sweeney can be reached at esweeney@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney.