To keep spectators away from the turbulent sea, Scituate officials are planning to close several roads in preparation of Friday’s storm.The decision grew out of the experience of previous storms, including Hurricane Sandy, that have attracted far too many onlookers to Scituate’s shores.
“We’re going to have restricted access in some areas of town,” said Town Administrator Patricia Vinchesi. “Some of the things we [talked about last time] were the number of people who were there who don’t need to be there. We will be restricting access to some areas of town…with the snow wind and coastal impacts, it’s another safety precaution.”
The measures are in response to an expected two feet of snow and anticipated coastal flooding. Areas such as Lighthouse Road and Humarock are expected to be the hardest hit.
According to Vinchesi, Humarock felt the impacts from Hurricane Sandy, and that storm wasn’t especially bad for Scituate.
“There are lots of houses on pilings so the ocean comes on to the road, and there is only that one road and we can’t get emergency personnel there easily,” Vinchesi said. “And we’re also supposed to get two feet of snow. We know the impacts when there isn’t snow in addition.”
Already, the town is encouraging evacuations in some coastal areas, such as Central
Avenue north of Newport Street in Humarock, which is expected to be impassable after 7 p.m. on Friday.
To account for evacuations, the Town will open its shelter at Scituate High School on Friday at 6 p.m. for residents and their pets.
Elsewhere in town, preparations have amped up to handle the massive storm. Plows are prepped and ready to go, and people should expect extended power outages, 72 hours at a miniumum.
“Everybody is obviously on notice,” Vinchesi said. “If there are high-impact winds, we are expecting power outages to last for a long time, longer than usual because when the electric people come on site, they can’t put people on bucket trucks if it is over 30 mph…if that’s the case we have to look at long-term impacts, [such as] sheltering.”
Police and fire will also be well staffed.
On the coastline, some residents will be advised to board up their houses. The building inspector has been working Thursday to help in those preparations.
Areas that will receive the highest impact will also be receiving a reverse 3-1-1 call.
Scituate Public Schools will have an early dismissal on Friday as well. All Town Offices and the Library will be closed at noon on Friday and all day on Saturday.
The transfer station will be open till noon on Friday and closed on Saturday, but will reopen on Sunday morning.
Parking bans will also be enforced. Vehicles parked on public streets will be towed. Parking on public ways will be prohibited after 2 p.m. on Friday.
The Town will permit parking from noon on Friday to Sunday at noon at Widow’s Walk parking lot and the school parking lots. Vehicles remaining after 2 p.m. on Sunday will be subject to ticketing, the town said.
High tide is expected at around 9:41 p.m. Friday night and 9:57 a.m. Saturday morning, and according to Michael Page, author of HinghamWeather.com, coastal flooding should be expected.
“There will be a storm surge on the order of 2-3 feet. When you combine it with an astronomically high tide of 11 feet, there will be moderate flooding in the South Shore. Scituate is always susceptible. I expect a lot of road closures in Scituate,” Page said.
According to Page, the storm is a compilation of weather systems that should provide problematic for much of the South Shore.
Page’s projections for total snowfall were a bit more conservative, in the 10-15 inch range, but without question he said communities could expect from a foot to a foot and a half of snow.
The cause is an energy system moving out of the Great Lakes, which will combine with an existing storm moving up the coast from the south. The two will collide off the New England coastline.
Combined with a cold area of high pressure in Canada – what has been missing for the last two years – residents could expect to see much more snow that they have had in the last two winters. Wind gusts could also reach up to 60-65 mph.
Page expected the worst of the storm to occur between Friday evening and Saturday morning.
With those predictions, residents are urged to stay off the roads and exercise caution, Vinchesi said.
“As we did the last storm, we tend to send up an update every two to three hours at best,” Vinchesi said. “As long as we have electricity, we will continue to do that, in web blasts and positing it on the town website, as well as cable. People should exercise caution.”
USEFUL PHONE NUMBERS:
National Grid: 1-800-322-3223
N’Star : 1-800-592-2000
Verizon: 1-800-VERIZON (837-4966)