[6:00 PM] July 8, 2021 | Barnstable County Regional Emergency Planning Committee Tropical Storm Elsa Update

Filed in Announcements, General by on July 8, 2021

Information from Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency

Situation

At 5 PM, Tropical Storm Elsa was located 300 miles southwest of Atlantic City, New Jersey with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph and a minimum central pressure of 1006 mb. Elsa is moving toward the northeast near 21 mph. On the forecast track, Elsa will pass near the eastern mid-Atlantic states by tonight and is expected to pass near or over southeast New England on Friday as a tropical storm. No significant change in strength is expected through Friday, and Elsa is forecast to become a Post-tropical Cyclone by Friday night.

Additionally, there will be a risk of some scattered strong to severe storms behind the system, Friday evening.

Elsa is expected to be a fast-moving storm clearing out of MA by early Friday evening.

Impacts/ Potential Impacts

    • Damaging winds (gusting 40 to 60 mph) and power outages. The greatest area of risk is mainly on Cape Cod and the Islands.
    • Heavy rainfall of 2 to 4 inches with isolated totals up to 6 inches. The greatest area of impact will be north/west of Elsa’s track.
    • Heavy rainfall could lead to isolated flash flooding and urban flooding.
    • Potential for tornadoes Friday morning into the afternoon.
    • Potential for dangerous marine conditions along with rough surf and rip currents along south coastal beaches.

    No coastal or storm surge flooding is expected.

    Please see the weather graphics section of this document for detailed impacts of specific hazards.

Tropical Storm Winds Probabilities:

  • Hyannis 48%
  • Nantucket 57%
  • Boston 21%

Advisories, Watches, Warnings

  • Flash Flood Watch for Central Middlesex County, Eastern Essex, Eastern Norfolk, Eastern Plymouth, Northern Bristol, Northern Worcester, Northwest Middlesex County, Southeast Middlesex, Southern Bristol, Southern Plymouth, Southern Worcester, Suffolk, Western Essex, Western Norfolk, Western Plymouth, Eastern Franklin, Eastern Hampden, Eastern Hampshire, Western Franklin, Western Hampden, Western Hampshire, Northern Berkshire and Southern Berkshire. Issued July 8 at 2:21 PM and Expiring July 9 at 4:00 PM.
  • Hurricane Local Statement for all Counties. Issued July 8 at 11:42 AM.
  • Tropical Storm Warning for Eastern Essex, Western Norfolk, Southern Middlesex, Suffolk, Eastern Norfolk, Plymouth, Bristol, Barnstable, Dukes, and Nantucket. Issued July 8 at 11:22 AM until further notice.
  • A complete list of watches, warnings and advisories in effect for Massachusetts is available at: https://alerts.weather.gov/cap/ma.php?x=1%0A%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20

Tropical Storm Elsa Overview:

  • No major changes to the track.
  • A Tropical Storm Warning is now in effect as far north as the Merrimack and this includes to the Boston to Providence corridor.

Wind Threat and Potential Impact:

  • The winds will start to ramp up after 5 AM Friday with the strongest winds starting around 8AM and peaking around 12:00 PM.
  • Potential for 40 to 60 mph gusts on Cape Cod and the Islands.
  • The risk for power outages is highest along the south coast, including Cape Cod and the Islands due to damaging winds. There is a lower risk of wind damage and power outages from the Providence to Boston corridor.

 Wind Speed and Probabilities:

  • Roughly 4 in 10 chance of winds reaching tropical storm force (40 mph sustained) on Nantucket.
  • Roughly 2 in 10 chance of tropical storm force winds across southeast Massachusetts.

Earliest Reasonable Time of Arrival:

  • The earliest reasonable time of arrival of tropical storm force winds would be Friday morning.
  • Period of strongest winds will only be about 8 hours.

Expected Total Rainfall:

  • Elsa could produce 2-4 inches of rain, with isolated amounts up to 6 inches are possible.
  • Locally, most rain will occur Friday morning.

Excessive Rainfall Outlook:

  • Areas outlined in red have the greatest potential for flash flooding.

  • Tornado Potential:
    • The main threat of tornadoes would be Friday morning into Friday afternoon.
    • There will be a risk of some scattered strong to severe storms behind the system, Friday evening.

Critical Information

Public Safety MA State Police:

  • MSP will be closely monitoring weather developments and patrolling the roadways with our partner agencies to identify any significant storm related obstructions or conditions that need to be addressed by MADOT, DCR, and local DPW’s.
  • MSP will assist stranded motorists by contacting roadside assistance and responding to other calls for service.
Public Works and Engineering Department of Conservation and Recreation:

 

Pre-Storm Mobilization Plan

The locations for which DCR has responsibility have been prioritized with public safety as the first priority. During the storm, the following locations are DCR priorities:

  • Primary roadways, parkways and pedestrian routes
  • Traffic bridges
  • Potential flood zones
  • State police barracks
  • Safe passage to school when school is in session
  • Campgrounds
  • Waterfronts

 

Mobilization

All DCR divisions will mobilize during the regular tour of duty, Friday, July 9, 2021.

  • Operations staff will address flooding and downed tree issues, as needed through the day. There is no coastal flooding expected, but staff in low-lying coastal areas will be prepared for road closures due to flooding. 
  • Beaches and pools will begin the day Friday with lifeguard staffing at all facilities and will determine site-by-site if any facilities will close.
  • Camping program managers sent severe weather notifications to approximately 1500 campers that were either on site or due to arrive today/tomorrow at Nickerson, Wellfleet, Horseneck, Shawme Crowell, and Scusset campgrounds.
  • DCR Flood Control will be maintaining water levels on Charles and Mystic Rivers (anticipate pumping on Friday). Staff have coordinated plans with MWRA. Staff at Birch Hill Dam at Lake Denison will maintain their current position with water levels at 3 feet. They are not anticipating any issues but will be prepared if conditions change.
  • Forestry will stage a DCR saw crew at Myles Standish State Forest to address fallen tree issues across Southeast MA. Two contracted saw crews with log trucks will be staged at Blue Hills and Stony Brook to assist DCR Operations Staff across the Metro Boston area. A DCR West Region saw crew will also be available, if necessary.
  • DCR Fire Control will have a saw crew assisting at Nickerson State Park on Cape Cod and will also have staff available on Martha’s Vineyard. Ten (2) person saw crews will also be available statewide to assist, if needed. 
Transportation MA Department of Transportation:

 

Highway

  • Inspecting all equipment and vehicles including pumps, hoses, chainsaws, and generators.
  • Checking and clearing debris from catch basins.
  • Checking all work zones and securing equipment.
  • Tree contractors will be on standby.

 

MBTA

  • Event preparation coordination call with operations is scheduled for this afternoon.
  • Observation trains will be running tomorrow.
  • Northern Tree vendor on site.
  • Staff are checking pumps and drains before the storm.
  • Additional staff including extra track and power crews are on standby

 

Steamship Authority

  • Vessel crews are ready, and contingency plans are in place in the event of cancelations.
Utilities Department of Public Utilities:

 

Eversource

  • Declaring a Type 4 ERP event as of 6am Friday (July 9)
    • Restoration activities are generally accomplished within a 24‐48 hour period
    • Typically, 1 to 5% (14,000 to 70,000) customer interruptions at peak
    • Setting up mobile trailers in Plymouth and Yarmouth ahead of the storm
  • Opening all 4 eastern MA EOCs (Friday at 6am)
    • Boston
    • Southborogh
    • Yarmouth
    • Plymouth
  • Conducting Incident Management Team calls
  • Secured additional external crews, including crews from Canada (secured border crossing letter)
  • Pre-staging line and tree crews on Martha’s Vineyard (Thursday)
  • Notified all life support customers and communities to prepare for the event

 

National Grid

  • Declaring a Type 3 ERP event as of 8am Friday (July 9)
    • Restoration activities are generally accomplished within a 72-hour period
    • Typically, up to 10% (130,000) customer interruptions
    • Opening National Grid State EOC
  • Opening storm rooms (Friday at 8am)
    • Worcester
    • Malden
    • North Andover
    • Brockton
    • Hopedale
  • Conducting storm team calls.
  • Critical facility and life support customer outbound calls will be complete this afternoon
  • Secured additional external crews, including crews from Canada (secured border crossing letter)
  • Pre-staging crews on Nantucket (today)
  • Staged transmission crews in Hull to address any impacts to the Hull 1 / Hull 2 lines.
  • Implemented all contingency plans related to the N-192 cable

 

Unitil

  • Preparing for a Type 4 ERP event Friday (July 9)
    • Restoration activities are generally accomplished within 24 hours
    • Typically, 2 to 5% (500 to 1,500) customer interruptions.
  • Not expecting a significant impact to the service area
  • Notified key internal personnel to prepare for event with additional external crews and staff available at the Local Operations Center
  • Continuing to conduct internal storm planning and preparation calls
Human Services Salvation Army:

  • The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services have put their regional disaster feeding canteens/teams on standby as well as several their commercial kitchen locations if there are emergency feeding needs or shelter support requests.  

 

American Red Cross:

  • The American Red Cross will be maintaining situational awareness of storm and will be participating in partner planning calls throughout the day.
  • An internal staff briefing will be conducted today.
  • Resources are pre-positioned across the Commonwealth and staffing will be stood up as needed.
Public Health Department of Public Health:

  • DPH is currently monitoring the storm.

MEMA Operations

MEMA is coordinating daily conference calls with NWS, Emergency Support Function (ESF) partners, and local and state officials to discuss the forecast for Tropical Storm Elsa, potential impacts, and state/local preparedness actions.

The State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) is currently operating at Level 1 (Steady State Monitoring). MEMA will continue to monitor the situation and will disseminate additional Situational Awareness Statements, as necessary. The next SAS will be issued tomorrow morning.

Preparedness and Safety Information

Preparedness and safety tips for tropical storms and hurricanes: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/hurricane-safety-tips

Power outage preparedness and safety information: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/power-outage-safety-tips

Preparedness and safety tips for thunderstorms and lightning: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/thunderstorm-and-lightning-safety-tips

Flood safety tips: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/flood-safety-tips

 

Stay Informed

For additional information and updated forecasts, see www.weather.gov/boston (National Weather Service Norton) and www.weather.gov/albany (National Weather Service Albany)

Utilize MEMA’s real-time power outage viewer to stay informed about current power outages in your community and region, and across the state, including information from utility companies about restoration times: http://mema.mapsonline.net/public.html

 

Online Resources
Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency www.mass.gov/mema
MEMA’s Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/MassachusettsEMA
MEMA Twitter @MassEMA
Federal Emergency Management Agency www.fema.gov
National Weather Service Boston/ Norton, MA  www.weather.gov/boston
National Weather Service/Albany, NY www.weather.gov/albany
National Weather Service Weather Prediction Center www.wpc.ncep.noaa.gov National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center  www.spc.noaa.gov
Northeast River Forecast Center www.weather.gov/nerfc/National Hurricane Center www.nhc.noaa.gov
Mass211 www.mass211.org

 

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