As winter storm Nemo barrels its way up the East Coast, a frenzy of preparations is under way in local communities.
Although everything depends on the track the storm takes, worse-case scenarios predict two feet of snow and blizzard-level winds whipping up astronomically high tides tonight. Tomorrow morning’s 10 a.m. high tide could be the worst blow for the coast, as it coincides with a storm surge and heavy surf. Flooding and dune erosion are expected all along the coast.
Newburyport has prepared an emergency shelter at the Salvation Army, 40 Water St., according to Salvation Army Lt. Jeff Brunelle. It will be open Friday through Saturday, he said.
“If people lose heat or lose power or they have children and they are seeking emergency shelter from the storm, they are welcome to come,” he said. The Salvation Army does not have a backup generator, he said, so if the city’s power goes out, the shelter will also lose power.
Newburyport will institute its snow emergency parking ban at 6 tonight. Residents cannot park on streets; instead, they must park in designated off-street lots.
In Amesbury, Mayor Thatcher Kezer has declared a snow emergency effective today at noon through noon on Sunday. All municipal buildings will be closing at noon today. Parking on any public roadway is prohibited during the snow emergency.
Along the coast, emergency measures were in full swing yesterday in an attempt to lessen any damage that may be caused by the 3-foot storm surge and waves of up to 17 feet that the National Weather Service has predicted.
In Seabrook, a public works crew mounded sand to block the entrances of the town’s beach boardwalks onto Seabrook Beach, in hopes of keeping the tide on the shore.
“We’re building a sand berm so the ocean won’t overflow the beach and inundate the roads at the beach,” said Seabrook DPW manager John Starkey. “We do that in hopes of protecting houses, cellars and garages, too.”