[LincolnTalk] Fwd: Situational Awareness Statement #1 - Short Duration Storm on Christmas Eve and Christmas

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[LincolnTalk] Fwd: Situational Awareness Statement #1 - Short Duration Storm on Christmas Eve and Christmas

Bob Antia


-Bob Antia

Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency

DATE: 12/23/2020
TIME: 2:00 PM
SUBJECT: Short Duration Storm on Christmas Eve and Christmas (Potential for Damaging Winds and Minor Flooding)


A short duration, strong storm system will bring potentially damaging winds, heavy rain, and localized flooding to the Commonwealth on Christmas Eve night (Thursday) and lasting into Christmas Day (Friday). 15-35 mph sustained winds with the potential to increase slightly and damaging Southeastern gusts up to 65 mph are expected throughout Massachusetts, with increasingly powerful gusts over the Cape and Islands. 1.5 to 2.5 inches of rainfall is possible with localized amounts reaching 3 inches causing minor river, street/highway, and coastal flooding. Christmas Eve and Day travel impacts can be expected.


  • Possible power outages across Massachusetts with a greater risk in Eastern MA.
  • Minor river flooding with localized street and highway flooding.
  • Poor visibility due to dense fog will cause travel impacts.
  • Minor coastal flooding possible on the Southern coast.

Weather Forecast

The weather will be dry from this afternoon through Thursday morning. Rain will develop in western Massachusetts late Thursday afternoon and it will spread to the east through Thursday night. Rain is likely to be moderate to heavy at times. The heavy rain in combination with melting snow may lead to standing water and flooding. The rain will exit from west to east on Christmas day, possibly mixing with a little snow in western areas before ending. Any snow that occurs will be light. In addition to heavy rain, strong winds are looking likely with gusts of 40-60 mph with a few peak gusts of 75 mph on the Cape and Islands Thursday night into Friday morning. The strongest winds are anticipated on Friday from 6AM – 12PM (noon). Winds will decrease quickly on Friday afternoon. Temperatures will continue to fall through the day Friday, which may cause freezing of any wet pavements by Friday evening, though precipitation may exit soon enough to allow for some drying of pavements to occur.


Watches, Warnings, Advisories (as of 10:42 AM 12/23/20). Important note: High Wind Watches are likely to be upgraded to High Wind Warnings on Wednesday afternoon or Thursday morning.


High Wind Watch
Issued: December 23 at 10:42AM EST
Expiring: December 25 at 4:00PM EST

Urgency: Future
Status: Actual

Areas affected: Barnstable; Central Middlesex County; Dukes; Eastern Essex; Eastern Norfolk; Eastern Plymouth; Nantucket; Northern Bristol; Southeast Middlesex; Southern Bristol; Southern Plymouth; Southern Worcester; Suffolk; Western Essex; Western Norfolk; Western Plymouth

Flood Watch
Issued: December 23 at 3:46AM EST
Expiring: December 25 at 4:00PM EST

Urgency: Future
Status: Actual

Areas affected: Southern Berkshire

Flood Watch
Issued: December 23 at 3:46AM EST

Urgency: Future
Status: Actual

Areas affected: Northern Berkshire

High Wind Watch
Issued: December 23 at 3:35AM EST
Expiring: December 25 at 10:00AM EST

Urgency: Future
Status: Actual

Areas affected: Northern Berkshire; Southern Berkshire




Emergency Support Function Updates

ESF 1 – Department of Transportation


  • Clearing snow and debris from drains to reduce flooding
  • Safeguarding active construction sites
  • Securing roadside equipment such as PVMS boards
  • Inspecting equipment to ensure availability
  • Notified staff and contractors of potential call in


  • Running observation trains overnight Thursday into Friday
  • Prep work on drains and cleaning up snowbanks to prevent flooding and drain blockages 
  • Securing construction area equipment 


ESF 3 – Department of Conservation and Recreation

  • DCR Parkway staff in the North and Boston Regions will monitor weather conditions and report in on an as-needed basis to respond to any hazards caused by the storm. All DCR districts are currently clearing drains and culverts in anticipation for heavy rain. 
  • DCR South Region is currently assessing staff availability and are in the planning stage for a potential mobilization of crews in the Blue Hills District to respond to parkway flooding and tree damage. 
  • DCR Forestry will stage a contracted emergency standby saw crew in the Boston Area to respond, as needed, to tree damage for fallen trees too large for DCR staff to address. 
  • DCR Central and West Region plan to close Snow Mobile trails until further notice tomorrow due to the rain and melting snow.  A press release will be issued by tomorrow.


ESF 12 – Utilities


  • Declaring a Type 4 ERP event as of 10AM Thursday (Dec 24);
    • Restoration activities are generally accomplished within a 24‐48 hour period;
    • Typically 1 to 5% (14,000 to 70,000) customer interruptions at peak; and
    • Continue monitoring the forecast to determine whether further escalation is necessary
      • Key drivers for further escalation include very high winds in the forecast, longer duration of gusty weather, and the limited availability of crews to assist with restoration efforts.
  • Issuing messages to customers explaining that Eversource is preparing for potential multi-day outages;
  • Opening all 5 EOCs (Thursday at 10PM)
    • Boston;
    • Springfield;
    • Southboro;
    • Yarmouth; and
    • Plymouth.
  • Secured additional external crews, including crews from Canada;
  • Pre-staging crews on Martha’s Vineyard;
  • Notified all life support customers and communities to prepare for the event.

National Grid:

  • Declaring a Type 4 ERP event as of 8PM Thursday (Dec 24);
    • Restoration activities are typically accomplished in less than 24 hours; and
    • Typically 0 to 3% customer interruptions (0 to 39,000 customers) at peak.
  • Opening storm rooms (Thursday at 8PM):
    • Brockton;
    • North Andover; and
    • Worcester.
  • Secured external contract crews, including crews from Canada;
  • Pre-staging crews on Nantucket; and
  • Life support and critical facility outbound calls are scheduled for 11am Wednesday.


  • Monitoring weather forecast; and
  • Not expecting a significant impact.


ESF 13  - Massachusetts State Police

  • Department personnel, in coordination with the MassDOT, DCR, local communities and other entities, will be patrolling roadways throughout the Commonwealth, responding to incidents, and assisting the public as necessary.


MEMA Operations

The State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) is currently operating at Level 1 (Steady State Monitoring). MEMA will continue to monitor this weather event and its impacts and will issue updated Situational Awareness Statements as needed.

Preparedness and Safety Information

  • Strong wind gusts are expected to cause power outages. All residents encouraged to be prepared for power outages:
    • Keep your cell phone, laptop and other electronics fully charged.
    • If you have an emergency generator, make sure you have fuel, and know how to operate it safely outside away from home.
    • Have flashlights, batteries, and any other supplies you may need if you lose power.
    • If your medical equipment uses electricity, talk to health care providers, utility company & your personal support network for how to use them and backup options during a power outage.
    • Secure or bring in outdoor objects (patio furniture, kids toys, trash cans, holiday decorations, etc.) that could be blown away.
    • More power outage safety tips: www.mass.gov/mema/power-outages
  • With heavy rain expected, residents are asked to prepare:
    • Elevate items stored in the basement and other low-lying flood prone areas of homes and businesses to minimize damage from flooding.
    • If you have a sump pump, check that it is functioning properly.
    • Clear snow and ice from street catch basins and storm drains to prevent or reduce street flooding.
    • More flood safety tips: www.mass.gov/mema/floods

Stay Informed:

Utilize MEMA’s real-time power outage viewer to stay informed about current power outages in your community and region, and across the state, including information from utility companies about restoration times: http://mema.mapsonline.net/public.html

Utilize MEMA’s live weather radar and forecasting tools: http://www.mass.gov/map-resources

Online Resources:
For additional information and resources, visit:
Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency at
MEMA's Facebook page:
MEMA Twitter:
Federal Emergency Management Agency at
National Weather Service/Norton at
National Weather Service/Albany, NY at
National Weather Service Weather Prediction Center:
National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center: 
Mass211 at


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