‘We expect to lose homes’: National Guard activated ahead of severe storm

BOSTON (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.

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“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.”

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.

Residents in areas prone to coastal flooding are asked to follow the direction of local officials. They may be asked to evacuate before high tide on Friday.

School in Duxbury, Marshfield, Hull and Scituate will be closed Friday.

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 are in place near the Marriot 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 3-4 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.

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. The MBTA has been taking steps to avoid flooding problems along rail lines. Some coastal roads could be closed. Flights in and out of Logan Airport could be impacted as well.

Click here for the latest weather updates.

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