Storm warning

Storm warning

Hurricane Jose may stay offshore, but local harbormasters and boat owners are preparing for the worst, even if it's just a precaution.

Jose is expected to bring heavy rain at times and wind gusts over 30 mph on Wednesday and into Wednesday night, according to the National Weather Service.

Though unpleasant, it's not "as massive" as anticipated, according to Mark Souza, Marblehead's harbormaster.

"We still prepare the same way we prepare if there's a major storm versus a minor storm," he said. That includes making sure that floats and public access docks are secured and ready. 

"We double-check, triple-check all our equipment in case we need to aid anyone in need. All our equipment is ready to go and prepared."

What makes this storm more problematic for Marblehead is that the wind is coming from the northeast, and the town's harbor faces the same direction.

"We get the brunt of the storm," Souza said. "All the boats, floats, moorings, they're the biggest concerns."

But Souza and his staff, situated in the center of the harbor, will be on hand throughout the storm.

The last time the town had trouble was in the spring, when a nor'easter flipped a few boats and dislodged a few docks. But Souza's department worked through each scenario.

In Ipswich, police Lt. Jonathan Hubbard, who also works as the town's emergency management director, said the town is ready for the storm.

Watching the tides is key, he said, especially since Jeffrey's Neck Road is susceptible to flooding — it runs close to Plum Island Sound in one area. Luckily, this storm isn't supposed to be severe enough to push water over the road, he said.

The town did bring its police boats on land, Hubbard said, while mariners have either done the same or tied them at the town wharf if they're too large to ground.

Salem also took the proper protocols on Monday, Harbormaster Bill McHugh said.

"We're going to do OK," he said.

Winter Island and Salem Willows usually face the most damage, McHugh said. The island's gangway was pulled up as a precaution.

Along with the storm threat, residents should be aware of a high surf advisory issued by the National Weather Service for Essex County.

“Hurricane Jose will bring high surf and dangerous rip currents to some ocean-exposed beaches through much of this week,” the Weather Service said. “There is the potential for significant erosion along ocean-exposed beaches during this week."

The MBTA is also keeping an eye on the storm. The T's emergency operations center was scheduled to be activated Tuesday evening, and the T will move to 12-hour working shifts, as it does during winter storms.

While this brush with the storm may not be intense, long-range models show Jose could loop back around and cross its own path. The storm could make its way back toward the Eastern Seaboard next week, according to the National Weather Service models.

Harbormasters are also keeping a watchful eye on Hurricane Maria, currently wreaking havoc on Puerto Rico.

"It's a lot more powerful of a storm," Hubbard said.

"Prepare for the worst, hope for the best," McHugh said of the storms.

Arianna MacNeill can be reached at 978-338-2527 or at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @SN_AMacNeill. 

State House News Service contributed to this story.


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