A huge storm that caused troubles for much of the nation ended up sparing the Vineyard its worst wrath. Though the Christmas Day northeaster passed over the Vineyard and Nantucket on its path out to sea, it dropped an inch of snow and lots of rain. The National Weather Service cooperative station recorded 1.41 inches of melted precipitation.
High winds associated with the storm caused some problems for ferry service. Island police reported a a wave of house alarms going off, set off by rattling windows.
The storm caused brief interruptions in service on Steamship Authority ferries and also the Chappaquiddick ferry. Service on the Chappy ferry shut down for a short time late in the day because of extreme high tides. The ferry Islander couldn't make the last two trips of the day and the freight boat Katama canceled three trips, one in the early morning and two at the end of the day.
All ferry service to Nantucket was canceled by noon on Christmas, and as of mid-afternoon yesterday, service had still not resumed. SSA treasurer Wayne Lamson said if necessary the boat line will consider adding extra service on the Nantucket run today using the freight ferry Sankaty.
Nantucket may have gotten the worst of the winds. Martha's Vineyard Airport manager Bill Weibrecht said peak winds of 54 miles per hour were recorded on Nantucket. Blue Hills in Milton recorded a high gust of 60 m.p.h. The most the Vineyard saw was 38 knots.
"It was an impressive storm," said Mr. Weibrecht. The Vineyard airport was open for most of Christmas Day, as was T.F. Green Airport in Providence. Flights may have been cancelled more because of other airports. New York city airports were closed Wednesday afternoon during the height of the storm.
The Vineyard airport was closed because of ice from 3 to 10 a.m. yesterday.
One of the most impressive aspects of the storm was the low pressure system that passed over the Vineyard. The barometric pressure at the airport dropped to 28.81 inches, or 975 millibars. The barometric pressure with Hurricane Bob of August 1991 wasn't much lower at 28.32 inches.
Rainfall was most significant from noon to 4 p.m. Close to an inch of rain fell in an hour. The West Tisbury police station roof leaked.
High winds brought down a large tree behind the Daggett House on North Water street in Edgartown. Joanna Galusza, who works at the front desk of the famous inn, said the old tree fell in the night onto the Garden Cottages and broke a fence.
Lagoon Pond and Sengekontacket Ponds flooded their banks Christmas afternoon.
Michael Henry, a meteorologist with Weather Services Inc. in Lexington, said the storm crossed the whole American continent. "It came into the West Coast late last week and made its way across the country," Mr. Henry said. It dumped snow as far south as Oklahoma and was responsible for a number of fatalities. On Christmas Eve there were two low pressure systems. One was in Pennsylvania, the other was off New Jersey.
The two merged south of Long Island. "It deepened quickly," Mr. Henry said, and dumped anywhere from eight to 12 inches of snow. More than 50,000 people were without electricity in Massachusetts alone, according to reports from the mainland.
But the Island did well considering, and Island police had little to report about the storm.
Last week was one of the Vineyard's wettest. The week began with rainfall. Storms last weekend produced .84 inches of rainfall. Add that to rainfall from the Christmas northeaster, and the total was over two inches.