Earl Just Brushes New England

East Coast residents have been busy tracking Hurricane Earl all week, and he finally arrived in Southern New England on Friday.

The HinghamWeather.com forecast for Earl was consistently conservative last week, despite hype that built up from both the media and even the National Hurricane Center. In the end, it turns out that conservative was the way to go, with many of my forecast elements verifying. In fact, I could have gone even more conservative!

On the Water: The coastal impacts of Earl were always pegged as being the biggest impact of the storm. Seas just offshore rose to nearly 20 feet, with waves just shy of that crashing ashore on portions of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. The ocean will remain volatile for the next few days as Earl races Northeastward, so be on alert for higher than normal surf and the risk of rip currents at area beaches.

The Wind: Winds with the storm were not terribly impressive. Then again, I wasn’t expecting them to be all that memorable. Gusts on the Cape and Islands were up to about 60 MPH (58 MPH in Barnstable, 54 MPH in Nantucket). Those are within Tropical Storm range. Along the immediate coast of the South Shore, gusts ranged from 20-30 MPH, with even lower gusts inland. This is where the forecast could have been a bit more conservative.

The wind caused few problems, aside from bringing down a few trees on the Cape and causing a handful of power outages.

The Rain: Bands of heavy rain rotated in off and on during the evening. Rain totals were heaviest over Southeastern Massachusetts, where some of the bands stalled for a time. They brought torrential rain and some urban flooding to areas on Martha’s Vineyard and Cape Cod especially. Rainfall totals in Eastern Massachusetts ranged from 1-3″ generally speaking (3.51″ in Chatham, 2.29″ in Nantucket, 2.24″ in Duxbury, 0.91″ in Hingham), but a few locations in those stalled bands saw around 4″, such as 4.30″ in West Tisbury on the Vineyard. Totals ranged from 0.50-1.5″ for the rest of non-coastal Eastern Massachusetts, including 0.73″ in Walpole. Hardly any rain fell in Western and Central Massachusetts.