BOSTON – The MBTA, Keolis Commuter Services and Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Highway Division are making preparations for severe weather this week as the storm initially named Hurricane Jose is forecast to make its closest approach to Massachusetts late tonight into Wednesday.
At this time, normal schedules are anticipated for bus, commuter rail, subway and ferries, however, transit customers should check the MBTA website or Twitter for weather related information should there be service delays.
As per the current forecast, The National Weather service anticipates the arrival of strong winds by this evening, with the potential for several inches of rainfall in some areas, possibly in Barnstable, Bristol, Dukes, and Plymouth Counties. Regardless of the storm’s ultimate pathway, marine impacts such as high surf, rip currents, beach erosion and minor coastal flooding may occur, and the Cape and Islands could see wind gusts as high as 50 to 60 miles per hour.
MassDOT expects that Jose’s high winds could potentially bring down tree limbs, which may lead to debris on roadways and rail tracks, causing traffic and transit impacts.
“All highway districts have taken proactive steps in preparation for the storm,” said Acting Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver. “This weather event will mean different things for different areas of the state. For example, in some areas of highway districts, scheduled non-emergency construction activity will be postponed, staff has been informed they may be needed for storm cleanup and other steps have been taken to ensure that heavy equipment is ready for the road if needed.”
“We are preparing for this storm in a similar manner to a winter storm, meaning close coordination of crews and the deployment of additional resources throughout the network,” said David Scorey, CEO and General Manager, KCS. “Our storm plans this week combine with other preparations we have made over the course of the last several months to help minimize weather-related impacts on the service our passengers rely on.”
Due to the storm, the MBTA and Keolis will be opening their situation rooms to coordinate with operations, transportation, mechanical, engineering and customer service teams.
The MBTA and Keolis have each worked during the summer months trimming brush and limbs along commuter rail and subway routes in anticipation of hazardous weather. They will be running observation trains this evening to ensure that tracks are clear of debris and to monitor for other issues.
In addition, transit crews have fully inspected emergency equipment such as generators and pumps to ensure continuity of operations. In key areas, drainage areas and culverts have been inspected to help mitigate flooding risk.