National Guard activated ahead of storm expected to bring severe flooding

(WHDH) – Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker said Thursday that he has activated the National Guard ahead of Friday’s nor’easter. The storm is expected to bring severe coastal flooding.

RELATED: Coastal flood warning, high wind warning in effect as powerful nor’easter approaches

“Five inches of rain in less than 12 hours, combined with two major high tides, people need to take this very seriously,” Baker said of the storm, which packs potential to level widespread damage along the entire coast.

Baker warned that the approaching storm is shaping up to be “more severe” than the one back on Jan. 4. Many coastal communities saw historic flooding, including Scituate.

“We’re anticipating a very severe, multi-hazard weather event,” said Kurt Schwartz, the director of MEMA. “We expect to lose homes.”

In Scituate, residents are still recovering from January’s storm that caused significant flooding and damage. A state of emergency was declared at 10 p.m. Thursday and will last through 10 a.m. Sunday. Residents in flood zones are asked to evacuate by 10 a.m. Friday.

Volunteers with AmeriCorps were on hand Thursday to fill up to 2,000 sandbags for residents to prepare for the flooding that is expected.

The storm is expected to hit early Friday morning and persist into Saturday morning. About 200 National Guard members will be deployed and 34 high-water rescue vehicles will be made available to communities that need them.

RELATED: Track the storm on interactive radar

Many areas in Boston “will likely flood,” Baker added. Boston’s Seaport District was hit hard during the last storm and streets turned to rivers.

A steel flood wall has been setup at Fish Pier. Sandbags have been piled up near the Marriott Long Wharf and around the Aquarium MBTA stop.

Baker warned the public that first responders may not be able to get to flooded areas between high tide cycles. Storm surges of 3 to 4 feet and erosion is possible. In addition to flooding, hurricane force winds in some areas could knock out power, especially in Eastern Massachusetts. Gusts could top 70 mph.

In Winthrop, town officials announced that a parking ban will be in effect from 8 a.m. Friday to Saturday afternoon. Residents whose homes flooded during January’s storm are urged to move their cars to higher ground. The fire department has sandbags available for residents to fill up themselves.

There is a voluntary evacuation in effect on Plum Island where severe flooding is also expected. Plum Island Mayor Donna Holaday said she anticipates the island will be impassable after the first high tide on Friday through Saturday.

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Rain could turn to heavy snow in western and central Massachusetts. Most areas will see at least 3 inches of rain and up to 9 inches of snow could fall.

Schwartz said MEMA has been working with local, state and federal partners to ensure the state is prepared.

MBTA ferry service will not run on Friday and transportation officials said additional seats will be added on the Greenbush line to accommodate ferry passengers. The MBTA anticipates running a normal weekday schedule on Friday but has crews on standby in case any issues arise.

Flights in and out of Logan Airport could be impacted as well.

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