Monday, April 15, 2024
Home MASSACHUSETTS Boston Governor Healey Issues Emergency Declaration, Activates National Guard Ahead of Hurricane Lee

Governor Healey Issues Emergency Declaration, Activates National Guard Ahead of Hurricane Lee

National Weather Service officials do not expect the hurricane to make landfall in Massachusetts; Tropical Storm Warning in effect along the state’s coast

BOSTON – In advance of the wind, rain, and coastal flooding expected from Hurricane Lee, Governor Maura T. Healey has declared a state of emergency and requested that FEMA issue a Pre-Disaster Emergency Declaration under the Stafford Act, which would make Massachusetts eligible for Direct Federal Assistance for response costs including personnel, equipment, supplies, and evacuation assistance. Additionally, the Governor is activating up to 50 National Guard members to provide support for storm preparations and response, including operating highwater vehicles.

 

The Healey-Driscoll Administration is also sharing important guidance for residents to stay safe, along with ongoing state measures to respond to the needs of local communities. The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) encourages all residents and visitors to visit Mass.gov/KnowYourZone to learn if you live or work in a Hurricane Evacuation Zone; assemble an emergency kit with supplies like food, water, a flashlight, and radio; prepare for power outages; and stay informed by enabling Wireless Emergency Alerts on your cell phone.

 

“I am declaring a state of emergency ahead of anticipated impacts from Hurricane Lee to ensure that the state can mobilize quickly to respond. I am also calling on FEMA to issue a Stafford Act declaration to free up resources that we can use to help communities with any recovery that might be necessary,” said Governor Maura Healey. “We’re grateful for the extensive efforts of public safety officials who are responding to emergencies to keep people safe. All of us can do our part to help our friends and neighbors – and we encourage every Massachusetts resident to make sure they are prepared for this storm.”

 

“As a former mayor, I understand the unique challenges that municipal leaders face during extreme weather events, and we appreciate their efforts to ensure their communities stay safe and help them recover from any damage,” said Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll. “This emergency declaration is a step to help bolster the process for delivering relief to communities impacted by Hurricane Lee.”

 

Hurricane Lee is expected to bring wind, rain and coastal flood impacts to coastal southern New England Friday night into Saturday. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect along the entire Massachusetts coastline, including the Cape and Islands. Cape Cod and the Islands have the greatest risk of seeing tropical storm force winds. The strongest winds will impact the Cape and Islands with 50-60 mph gusts possible. Gusty winds are expected to knock down trees and limbs, which may cause power outages. The most significant coastal flooding is expected to impact the northern shoreline of Cape Cod (bay side) and Nantucket around the early morning high tide Saturday. The Cape and Islands may see 1-3” of rain Friday night into Saturday.

 

“I am thankful for our emergency management partners at every level of government, as well as our private and non-profit partners, who have been coordinating daily to provide situational awareness and preparing for potential impacts, which include storm surge flooding, strong wind and the possibility of power outages,” said MEMA Director Dawn Brantley. “We are prepared to operate the State and MEMA East Regional Emergency Operations Centers 24/7 for as long as they are needed. MEMA will deploy one of our local coordinators to support the Barnstable County Multi-Agency Coordination Center on Cape Cod, where some of the most significant impacts are expected.”

 

Preparation & Response Capabilities

In anticipation of the storm, local, county, and state officials have participated in daily coordination calls with the National Weather Service and the National Hurricane Center. MEMA also initiated standard pre-impact planning with emergency support function partners that offer capabilities including search and rescue, mass care, debris management, communications, and damage assessment in the event they are needed.

 

On Saturday morning at 7 a.m., the State Emergency Operations Center in Framingham, along with MEMA East Regional Emergency Operations Centers in Franklin and Tewksbury, will activate to provide a dedicated space for interagency coordination in response to requests for support from municipalities, state agencies, and organizations.

 

Transportation

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is underscoring that the public should plan ahead if traveling during the severe weather. Although MassDOT does not anticipate any restrictions on passenger vehicles during this storm, drivers are reminded to take care and never drive through standing water. MassDOT is ready to respond to any impacts the storm may have on transportation infrastructure.

 

Truck drivers should take special care if they must travel. if there are strong winds, upwards of 75 mph, MassDOT may restrict some truck travel for brief periods on specific bridge structures in the path of the storm should sustained winds and gusts create dangerous conditions.

 

MassDOT Highway crews have been inspecting catch basins, drainage inlets and cross pipes and removing any obstructions from them over the last few days. Heavy equipment, pumps, and generators are fueled up and ready to be deployed if needed. Staff will be patrolling during the storm and emergency response crews are on standby.

 

The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) is preparing for potential flooding on roadways or parkways within its jurisdiction and may close affected areas as needed. Like MassDOT, DCR has teams standing by to address any fallen trees that require attention.

 

The MBTA is closely monitoring the weather forecast and will provide updates as needed. Passengers should plan accordingly and allow extra travel time if they are traveling during periods of inclement weather. Ferry service will be adjusted on Friday, September 15, cancelled on Saturday, September 16, and operate normally on Sunday, September 16. Riders are encouraged to sign up for and check T-Alerts for the latest service information.

 

Massport advises Boston Logan passengers to reach out to their airlines on the status of their flight. Information related to flight status can be found here.

 

Recreation

DCR has contacted all campers with reservations for this weekend and offered them the opportunity to cancel at no cost or to transfer their reservation to another campground that is outside of the forecasted storm area.

 

As a reminder, waterfront services have ended for the season, including lifeguard services at all DCR-managed inland and coastal beaches across the state, and swimming is no longer permitted at these locations. DCR is encouraging the public to stay off of coastal beaches in areas that are in the forecasted path of the storm.

 

Public Services

The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) will close several customer service centers in Eastern Massachusetts on Saturday, September 16, and road test appointments are being postponed.  Customers may find additional information on mass.gov/RMV.

 

Massachusetts residents are encouraged to monitor weather forecasts for the most up-to-date information. For the latest updates, follow the National Weather Service Boston/Norton and MEMA on Facebook and TwitterVisit Mass.gov for more information on hurricane preparedness.

 

Resources for flood impacted residents, businesses and municipalities can be found at mass.gov/floodrecovery.

 

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