Governor Baker Urges Caution Ahead of Hurricane Henri
Governor Charlie Baker today is urging the people of the Commonwealth to prepare for Hurricane Henri, which is expected to affect much of the Commonwealth beginning Saturday night into Monday, including the potential for strong winds, heavy rain, flooding and power outages. The Baker-Polito Administration is advising everyone to avoid unnecessary travel and for those planning to visit the Cape or Islands this weekend to delay trips. For those that have already traveled to the Cape or Islands for the weekend, they are advised to consider leaving on Saturday or extend their travel plans through early next week.
Governor Baker also today activated the Massachusetts National Guard under state active duty to fulfill highwater rescue, debris clearing and public safety support from impacted communities. The activation order allows for up to 1,000 guardsmen and will remain in place until support is no longer needed.
Tropical Storm Henri is projected to become a hurricane and significantly impact much of Central and Eastern Massachusetts, including Cape Cod and the Islands, and the South Coast. Hurricane force winds and substantial storm surges in coastal communities are expected. Additionally, the majority of Massachusetts is projected to receive a significant amount of rain, particularly from Greater Boston to Worcester County. All residents are advised to begin storm preparations today, and to pay close attention to local weather reports to monitor the track of the storm.
Residents can call 2-1-1 to obtain disaster information and call local public safety non-emergency phone numbers or town halls for local questions. Property owners are encouraged to take photos or videos to document any damages to property and to contact their insurance company.
This storm could cause power outages impacting at least 100,000 residents, and possibly as many as 300,000, and utility crews are being staged to assist in restoring power. For power outage updates and specific restoration times by town, check the Eversource outage map at outagemap.eversource.com or call Eversource at 800-592-2000. Residents should use generators and grills outside because their fumes contain carbon monoxide and make sure their carbon monoxide detectors are working. People are also reminded to stay away from any downed utility wires.
The Baker-Polito Administration remains in close contact with the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), National Weather Service, Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) and State Police (MSP) to monitor the forecast and will work to alert the public with important updates or notifications.
MBTA: The MBTA is currently operating normal scheduled service on all modes, but anticipates delays or service disruptions, particularly in low-lying areas and sections of the rapid transit system where trains are powered by overhead wires. Keolis and the MBTA will closely monitor weather forecasts to assess expected and real-time conditions related to scheduled service and operations. The MBTA is encouraging its customers to get service information by signing up for T-Alerts, following @MBTA and @MBTA_CR on Twitter, and using the MBTA commuter rail app.
Highway Safety: Traveling during the storm is expected to be hazardous, and residents are advised to plan ahead and stay home if possible. Do not drive in flooded areas. Currently, it is projected that the Route 128/95 and Interstate 495 corridors will be heavily impacted Sunday through Monday.
Public Safety: In addition to 1,000 National Guard personnel available to assist local and state agencies, Massachusetts State Police have moved additional Marine Unit assets into southeastern Massachusetts and will be prepared to move additional personnel or equipment to the islands if necessary. Additional MSP sections and units will have personnel ready to deploy into affected areas to boost staffing, and Troop commanders will determine whether to hold over shifts or call in upcoming shifts early based on storm projections. The Department of Fire Services likewise remains in contact with fire departments on Cape Cod and elsewhere to provide support before, during, and after the storm.
DCR Closures: The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) will close state campgrounds beginning Saturday at 11:00 a.m. through Monday evening. DCR anticipates reopening campgrounds Tuesday morning. Campers with reservations are being notified by DCR and will be provided with a full refund. All campers on DCR campgrounds must check out and exit the property by 11:00 a.m. on Saturday. Beginning Saturday at the close of guarded hours, DCR will close all state pools and coastal beaches through Sunday. Additionally, all DCR-managed inland waterfronts will be unguarded on Sunday. DCR strongly encourages residents to avoid visiting state parks throughout the duration of the storm due to high winds rain, and potential flooding, and will implement closures of certain access roads, parking areas and parkways as necessary to protect public safety.
The State Emergency Operations Center at MEMA Headquarters in Framingham is activated and closely monitoring the storm and forecast to provide situational awareness. Please visit www.mass.gov/MEMA to learn what you should do before, during and after a hurricane or tropical storm.