BOSTON (WHDH) - Gov. Maura Healey declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard Friday ahead of expected impacts from Hurricane Lee this weekend.
The storm isn’t expected to make landfall in Massachusetts. Still, Lee is forecast to bring wind, rain and storm surge to parts of southern New England beginning overnight and continuing through part of the day Saturday.
“As we’ve seen in recent weeks, severe weather is not to be taken lightly,” Healey said at a press conference announcing her state of emergency declaration.
The National Weather Service issued a tropical storm warning for some communities on Thursday morning, later expanding the warning to include a large stretch of coastline in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine.
By Friday morning, a coastal flood warning was also in place for Cape Cod and Nantucket, warning of minor to moderate flooding with high tides around 1 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday.
Healey said she activated up to 50 National Guard members to support storm preparations and responses, including the use of highwater vehicles that she said at least 10 towns requested.
“Our hope is that they are not needed but the important news is that they will be in place,” Healey said.
In addition to her state of emergency declaration and National Guard activation, Healey on Friday said she asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency to issue a pre-disaster emergency declaration “which would make Massachusetts eligible for Direct Federal Assistance for response costs including personnel, equipment, supplies, and evacuation assistance.”
Healey said local, county and state officials have been in communication with the National Weather Service and the National Hurricane Center as they make preparations and said the Red Cross was pre-staged around the state as of Friday afternoon.
Come Saturday morning, Healey said the state’s emergency operations center in Framingham will activate at 7 a.m. alongside regional emergency management operations centers in Franklin and Tewksbury to help manage the storm response.
While state authorities finalize preparations, Eversource officials this week said their crews have been preparing to handle possible power outages in areas on Cape Cod, the South Shore, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard that could see the region’s most intense storm conditions.
Eversource said it had more than 400 line crews prepared to help as of Friday morning.
Eversource officials said they brought in another 200 tree crews to manage trees and branches that could fall during Lee’s brush with New England.
Cape Cod residents, local officials finalize storm preparations
With the height of local Lee effects hours away, Cape Cod residents finalized their own storm preparations Friday afternoon, moving lawn furniture and umbrellas inside and securing boats in local harbors.
“It doesn’t seem like it’s going to be too bad,” said Sandwich homeowner Annette DiMasio. “I think I’ve been through worse down here.”
The local harbormaster has been advising boat owners with trailers to get their boats out of the water. Those without trailers are advised to add extra lines, put out more fenders and get their bow into the wind.
In Sandwich, one father and son duo was pulling their boat out of the water Friday.
“The harbormaster called and he suggested we get it out,” said boat owner William Ferretti. “Better safe than sorry, so that’s what we’re doing.”
In Orleans, large waves were already crashing on local beaches as winds ramped up Friday afternoon.
Back in Sandwich, wind and wave action were also increasing around 4 p.m.
Local officials, meanwhile, said they have been keeping in close contact with state emergency management officials.
“We’re expecting high winds starting early tomorrow morning, 5 a.m. and ending around 2 in the afternoon, so that’s really good news that it’s a daytime event and hopefully some daytime recovery,” said Sandwich Assistant Town Manager Heather Harper.
WATCH: People on Cape Cod stock up as Lee approaches
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