Taking Earl Seriously

Sept. 3, 2010: An article in the Patriot Ledger reports that officials along the South Shore of Massachusetts are concerned that residents are not taking the threat posed by Hurricane Earl seriously enough.

South Shore emergency officials have closed beaches, prepared emergency shelters and urged boaters to secure their vessels.

They also worry that some residents aren’t taking the storm seriously enough.

Peter Judge, a spokesman for the state Emergency Management Agency, was quoted in the article as saying: “Public complacency remains our concern because it’s been so long since we’ve had a major hurricane. Folks tend to look at this as a Cape and Islands event, but the reality is most coastal areas will have some impact.”

Earl, which has been downgraded to a Category 2 storm, was expected to weaken further today and bring strong winds and rain to the Massachusetts coast late tonight and into the first few hours of Saturday before blowing north to Canada.

The National Weather Service has issued a hurricane warning from Hull to Cape Cod, while areas farther north are under a tropical storm watch.

At 5 a.m. today, Earl was 465 miles southwest of Nantucket traveling north-northeast at 18 mph. Maximum sustained winds were 105 mph.

Judge said South Shore residents should prepare for strong winds, power outages and 2 to 4 inches of rain.

People are being warned to stay off beaches, where strong surf and rip currents are likely. Town beaches in Marshfield and Scituate were closed and the state Department of Conservation and Recreation expected to close Wollaston Beach in Quincy and Nantasket Beach in Hull today.

In Humarock, Grumpy’s Bait and Tackle owner Pete Craft was quoted as saying that some boat owners had secured their vessels, and a few had pulled them out of the water. “But for the most part, they have been through it before,” he said. “As for me, I’m not worried about it at all. I’m from Louisiana, so a hurricane up here is nothing.”

Scituate’s police, fire, harbormaster and public works departments will have extra people on duty during the storm, Town Administrator Patricia Venchesi said. At the Town River Yacht Club, Michael Herman Sr. said volunteers had pulled 30 boats from the water Thursday, and would work as late as possible. Another 25 boats went to different marinas, he said, and 10 sailed out to moorings.

On Houghs Neck, several residents said they pulled boats out of the water, but were not concerned about the storm.

The full story: