All schools on Cape Cod are closed and the Massachusetts Steamship Authority has suspended services until further notice.

Source: Alexander Smith and Matthew Mulligan

Nearly 500,000 homes and businesses in Massachusetts were without power early Wednesday as a powerful nor’easter continued to batter the East Coast.

The National Weather Service in Boston warned of a “dangerous situation” near and southeast of I-95, the East Coast’s main highway.

“Winds gusting over hurricane force across southeast Massachusetts. Numerous downed trees,” the service warned on Twitter. “TRAVEL IS NOT RECOMMENDED early this morning in southeast MA.”

The storm has already caused flooding in New York and New Jersey, where emergency services have carried out dozens of rescues.

The fire department in Duxbury said that "many roads are impassable" and that it was "handling a very high volume of emergency calls."
The fire department in Duxbury said that “many roads are impassable” and that it was “handling a very high volume of emergency calls.”Duxbury Fire Department

Coastal areas of Massachusetts are now bearing the brunt of the storm, with reported wind gusts of up to 97 mph that have brought down trees and power lines.

The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency said close to 490,000 customers were without power as of 8:30 a.m. ET

Most of these, almost 300,000, were in Barnstable and Plymouth counties, which cover Cape Cod and an area south of Boston.

All schools on the Cape have been closed, according to the Barnstable County Regional Emergency Planning Committee. And images and video posted on social media showed downed trees and other debris littering roads. 

In Boston, downed trees disrupted parts of the Red Line and Mattapan Trolley service, according to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, which deployed replacement shuttle buses.

The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency warned people to “avoid downed power lines, check on neighbors, and use generators outside away from buildings.”

The Massachusetts Steamship Authority, which runs ferries from the mainland to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, said it was canceling all services until further notice. It warned people not to attempt to get to its terminals and to stay off the “extremely dangerous” roads.

The harbormaster in Plymouth said some boats had broken free from their moorings.

On Tuesday, New York City saw almost 4 inches of rain in lower Manhattan and and Brooklyn in 24 hours — which are amounts approaching the rainfall typically seen in a month.

The weather service said the window for the strongest winds along the coast was between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. local time, “with somewhat lesser winds farther inland.”

It said early Wednesday that the wind would “slowly diminish today but it remains windy” as the storm pushes off the coast.

The Northeast won’t have much time to dry out, as there’s more rain in the forecast for the region on Friday.