Just days after an earthquake shook the city, the Hub is expecting to get whacked with torrential downpours, heavy winds and potential flooding from Hurricane Irene.
“This is something residents need to pay attention to,” said Alan Dunham, meteorologist at the National Weather Service. “We could be looking at tree damage, floods and power outages lasting a couple of days.”
Irene is expected to weaken slightly as it makes its way up the coast in the next few days, west of the city, but meteorologists predict it will still be pushing 50 to 70 mph winds when it reaches Boston.
“Indications show we are going to get hit,” said Dunham. “People should be preparing now.”
The hurricane is expected to slam the city Sunday evening with rainfall hitting the area first on Saturday night.
The city is not panicked, but is preparing ahead of time, according to Don McGough, director of emergency management in the mayor’s office.
“We are closely monitoring the storm and running contingencies to look at what potential impacts could be,” he said.
He said Boston is concerned about impacts from floods, storm surges and major wind damage.
The MBTA hasn’t cut back services yet either, but they are engaging in twice-a-day calls with the NWS and the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.
A spokesman from the T said personnel have been inspecting pump rooms and poor drainage areas all week and have performed a survey of dam equipment to prepare for potential flooding.
According to T spokesman Joe Pesaturo, Boston’s transit system hasn’t seen a flooded tunnel since 1996, which occurred on the Green Line from Fenway to Kenmore.
“We are not taking any chances,” said Pesaturo. “We’ll have equipment and sandbags near the portal just east of Fenway Station.”
Surf’s up — literally — as Irene nears Northeast
While Irene has caused anxiety and worry at grocery and hardware stores, the hurricane is creating excitement at local surf shops.
“This is an exciting storm. Pretty much the first good storm of the season,” said Oliver Berry, the manager of Luminate Surf & Skate in Marshfield. “We’ll be chasing around the storm down to Rhode Island and the Cape ... we’ll go head up toward New Hampshire and follow it.”
Berry said as the storm approaches so to do the customers to the surf shop in search of bigger boards and stronger surf leashes to stand up to the waves.
Berry and a few other surf shop employees have been tracking the storm for weeks in anticipation of catching the best waves possible.
“Around here the waves will get double over head, hopefully,” he said.