A major winter storm is hitting Nantucket on Friday with powerful wind gusts that have already prompted the boat lines to cancel all trips to and from the island for the day. The storm left islanders scrambling to reschedule their holiday travel plans, and just about every boat leaving the island on Thursday was at or near capacity with people attempting to get off-island ahead of the weather.
The National Weather Service in Boston is forecasting wind gusts today approaching 60 mph around the island that could cause power outages, along with moderate coastal flooding, as much as two inches of rain, beach erosion, and hazardous marine conditions.
The Steamship Authority announced Thursday afternoon that all service on the Nantucket route is canceled on Friday due to the storm. The boat line expects additional cancellations on Saturday, Christmas Eve. All change and cancelation fees for travel on Dec. 23 and Dec. 24 have been waived.
Hy-Line Cruises similarly announced that it was shutting down on Friday, and that no decisions had been made for trips on Saturday.
Nantucket Harbormaster Sheila Lucey told the Current she anticipates wind gusts to top 70 mph on the island, and seas of 8 to 12 feet. The Children's Beach boat ramp gate was closed Thursday around 3:30 p.m. as a precaution.
“Please stay off and away from the water,” Lucey said. “ Those conditions make it near impossible to assist you. Please stay safe.”
National Grid sent three extra crews to the island ahead of the storm in preparation for power outages, and the town Department of Public Works is prepared to treat roads if needed, the town announced.
Nantucket is under a coastal flood warning and high wind warning issued by the National Weather Service.
“Significant beach erosion may also occur on the south side of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket,” according to the NWS flood watch statement.
The only silver lining? There's a possibility Nantucket could have a white Christmas thanks to ocean effect snow.