By Steven Fletcher Staff Writer
Gloucester Daily Times
---- — One day after the end of a stormy campaign season, and just nine days after superstorm Sandy delivered high winds, downed trees and cut power across many parts of Cape Ann, local residents and officials are facing another major storm late today, with a nor’easter expected to blow through the region with heavy rains, high winds – and the potential for more power outages.
Matt Doody, a meteorologist at NOAA’s National Weather Service in Taunton, said the storm — which was somewhat downgraded Tuesday after some scarier forecasts on Monday — will last through the night and diminish through Thursday afternoon.
”It’s going to be kind of a slow mover,” Doody said, “we’ll see effects of it starting late this afternoon and lingering basically into the day on Thursday.”
Doody said Cape Ann residents should expect sustained winds of 25 miles per hour to 35 miles per hour, but with gusts of 40 mph and up to 50 mph. The National Weather Service has issued a High Wind watch from this morning through late Wednesday night.
Those gusts are far below the readings of up to 80 mph recorded on Cape Ann during its brush with Hurricane-turned-Tropical Storm Sandy last week. But according to the alert from the weather service, today’s and tonight’s nor’easter winds could once again down trees and cause scattered power outages.
Doody said the storm will cause a one— to — three-foot storm surge and bring about an inch of rain. Seas will hit 16 feet at the most during the storm. Cape Ann probably won’t see snow from the storm, he added, though snow is predicted in conjunction with the storm in the areas west of Interstate 495.
Doody said this storm will act like a typical Nor’easter. The only thing unusual about it, he said, is that it is arriving so early in the season. On Tuesday, the storm was a weak area of low pressure off South Carolina. But Doody said the storm was expected to strengthen quickly before moving up the East coast.
He said the actual center of the storm will stay out to sea, though it will pass close to Nantucket, and that Cape Cod and the state’s South Coast, Doody said, will bear the brunt of the storm.
The city isn’t yet taking any additional precautions for the storm, Fire Chief and Emergency Management Director Eric Smith said Tuesday.
”We’re basically business as usual for the most part,” Smith said, “if things were to take a suddenly more rash turn, we’ll do what we need to do.”
Smith said he believes the city’s public safety departments can handle the storm and the city won’t need to open the Emergency Operation’s Center at the Fuller School building. He added, however, that residents should stay indoors during the storm and be careful of downed trees, limbs and wires when the storm clears.
He also added that residents should expect scattered power outages. If the power goes out, he added, residents should call National Grid rather than the city’s public safety departments.
Steven Fletcher may be contacted at 1-978-283-7000 x3455, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @stevengdt.