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Northern New England ARES Volunteers Continue to Monitor Winter Storm

01/27/2015

The winter storm affecting the US Northeast may not have lived up to its advance hype in some areas, leaving forecasters apologetic, but it remains a significant weather event for Northern New England residents. While the worst of the storm missed New York City, extreme Long Island saw a couple of feet of snow. Eastern New York SEC David Galletly, KM2O, said ARES groups in his Section stood down at noon today.

“The storm track was apparently 50 to 100 miles east of the original forecast with a very sharp snow boundary,” Galletly said. “This has resulted in much less snow accumulation, especially in the Northern District counties where minimal amounts were recorded.”

Galletly said travel bans in the Southern and Central Districts were rescinded at 7:30 this morning, and Interstates 87 and 84 have reopened. ARRL Headquarters announced on Monday that it would be closed today in anticipation of the severe weather.

ARRL New York City-Long Island Section Manager Jim Mezey, W2KFV, said ARES teams in his Section spent Monday preparing for a storm that was anticipated to be of “historic proportions.” By midday on Monday, he said, ARES members were ready and standing by for marching orders. The American Red Cross had identified three possible shelter locations in Nassau and Suffolk counties, where ARES might have supported communication.

“Winds were running at 25 MPH with higher gusts, creating whiteout conditions for most of the night and early morning,” Mezey said. He reported snowfall accumulations of from 5 to 8 inches in New York City, 13 to 20 inches in Nassau County, and more than 24 inches in Eastern Suffolk County. “Snow is still falling and will continue till approximately 1800 hours,” he said. ARES stood down at noon but was continuing to monitor the situation, Mezey said, adding that ARES had “great cooperation” with its served agencies.

As the winter storm headed north, it slammed Eastern Massachusetts, including Cape Cod and the city of Boston. The Massachusetts South Shore has experienced flooding, as wind-driven storm surge tides breached one seawall and extended inland, flooding homes and businesses along the Brant Rock Esplanade. Flooding also was reported in Scituate, where streets are filled with slushy seawater. Fierce winds have caused some structural damage, and some residents have had to be evacuated. Snowfall on Cape Cod has reached 3 feet, while Boston received more than 1 foot. Power has been lost on Nantucket Island.

Another high tide will occur around 5 PM local time, and a coastal flood warning remains in effect for a large stretch of the Northeast US coast.

In Maine, where heavy snowfall and high winds are battering eastern and coastal communities, ARES has bumped up its alert status to Level 2 — standby. Maine Gov Paul LePage has declared a state of emergency, and reports of power outages have been on the rise in southern Maine. Temperatures have remained in the teens.

“Please continue to monitor emergency frequencies, check your gear, including Go-Kits, etc, in case we are activated,” Maine ARES Section Emergency Coordinator Phil Duggan, N1EP, advised Pine Tree State ARES volunteers. So far, no served agencies have requested ARES communication support.

Schools are closed across most of Northern New England, including all schools in Maine, although roads remain open, and traffic has been light.

To support the National Weather Service, Duggan has been holding twice-daily Maine ARES WX and SKYWARN Net sessions on 75 meters, collecting reports of measured snow accumulations, as well as temperature, wind velocity, and any reports of damage or power outages. A foot or more of snow has fallen along parts of the Maine coast, and stiff winds out of the northeast have caused considerable blowing and drifting. At times, visibility has been less than one-quarter mile.

Maine District 1 Emergency Coordinator Bob Gould, N1WJO, has been keeping abreast of reports from the Maine Emergency Management Agency. He said some 400 “scattered power outages” have been reported, mainly in York County, the state’s southernmost county. Snow accumulation predictions remain on target, and a blizzard warning remains in effect in some areas until tomorrow morning, he pointed out.

 

 



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