Emergency Management Director John F. Sullivan is recommending that residents take the necessary safety precautions to prepare themselves for potentially serious storm impacts as Tropical Storm Elsa is forecast to impact New England late tonight into Friday.
Tropical Storm Elsa is expected to pass near/over southeast New England on Friday as a tropical storm. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Brookline in the surrounding area, meaning sustained winds of 34-73 mph are expected in the region. Tropical Storm Elsa is projected to hit the Northeast on Friday morning and exit the region by Friday night. Heavy rains of 1 to 3 inches, which could lead to flooding, strong winds over 40 mph and isolated tornadoes are possible during the storm.
A Flash Flood Watch is also currently in effect across much of southeast New England due to the potential for flash flooding caused by heavy rainfall.
Residents are reminded that the forecast can change quickly and with little warning, and they should monitor the local forecast throughout the day. Members of the community who have not already done so are urged to sign up for AlertBrookline (CodeRED) to receive timely updates on the storm’s impacts to the community.
Sign-up is available either online or on a mobile device by visiting here. You can also enroll by typing “alertbrookline” to 99411.
The Department of Public Works, Police Department, and Fire Department are coordinating response preparations. Eversource is activating its Emergency Response Center at 06:00 a.m. on Friday morning and will be working closely with the Town through the storm. The Department of Public Works will have crews monitoring flooding conditions, forestry crews will be on standby, equipment and operators are ready to clear debris, and roads will be cleared and/or closed temporarily as necessary for public safety.
Only trained personnel with the appropriate diagnostic equipment can determine whether or not a particular line is energized. Stay at least ten feet away from all downed lines, and call 911 report the issue. Residents are encouraged to stay in a secure dry location for the duration of the storm.
Severe Weather Safety Tips: The Town of Brookline wishes to share the following general reminders for staying safe and preparing for extreme weather:
- Remove or secure all outdoor furniture or loose objects in advance of the storm so that they do not become hazardous projectiles.
- To minimize local flooding, residents and businesses are encouraged to clear any blocked catch basins close to their property.
- Residents are strongly encouraged to eliminate non-essential travel during the storm, since road conditions could become hazardous.
- All residents and visitors should avoid downed debris, trees or powerlines.
The Town of Brookline suggests that all residents follow tips provided by the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) in the event of flooding:
- Do not attempt to drive through large puddles or on flooded roads, which could threaten your safety. Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down, and 2 feet of water can sweep your vehicle away.
- If there is a chance of flash flooding, move immediately to higher ground. Flash floods are the number one cause of weather-related deaths in the U.S.
- If floodwaters rise around your car and the water is not moving, abandon the car and move to higher ground. Do not leave the car and enter moving water.
- Avoid camping or parking along streams, rivers and creeks during heavy rainfall. These areas can flood quickly and with little warning.
MEMA recommends purchasing a generator to maintain electricity despite an outage. Generators should always be kept outside since they emit deadly carbon monoxide fumes that can quickly accumulate if indoors.
Additional safety precautions residents should follow include:
- Not going out during a hurricane or tropical storm, if possible.
- Checking flashlights and portable radios to confirm they’re working.
- Fully charging your cell phone, laptop and any other devices before the storm.
- If you own a car, making sure its gas tank is at least half full in the event you need to travel. Purchase a car phone charger so that you can charge your device if you lose power at your home.
- Ensuring that you have an emergency kit that has basic medicine and bandages.
- Include disinfectants, hand sanitizer and other cleaning supplies that you may need in an emergency due to the CoViD-19 pandemic.
- Setting your refrigerator and freezer to their coldest settings (remember to reset them back to normal once power is restored). During an outage, minimize the number of times you open the refrigerator or freezer door.
- Preparing your home by securing or bringing in outdoor objects (patio furniture, children’s toys, trash cans, etc.) that could be swept away or damaged during strong winds or flooding.
- Being prepared by packing a bag with important items in case you need to evacuate. Do not forget to include needed medications and any valuable personal belongings.
- Being a good neighbor. Check on family, friends, and neighbors, especially the elderly, those who live alone, those with medical conditions and those who may need additional assistance.
After a storm passes through the area, residents should remain cautious. Heavy rain and strong winds can cause a multitude of problems like power outages, fallen debris and floods that often block roads and emergency vehicles, prolonging damage.
- Call 911 to report emergencies, including downed power lines and gas leaks.
- Stay away from downed utility wires. Always assume a downed power line is live.
- If your power is out, follow MEMA’s power outage safety tips here. Report power outages to your utility company. Do not call 911 to report an outage or to ask about power restoration.
- Resources for local residential services:
- Eversource: To report power outages or gas emergencies call 800-592-2000
- Verizon: 800-837-4966
- Comcast / Xfinity: 800-934-6489
- RCN: 800-746-4726
In addition to AlertBrookline updates, residents should monitor weather.gov, NOAA Weather Radio and local news outlets for official storm information. All emergency calls should be directed to 911. Non-emergency calls for service should be directed to 617-730-2222.