Ferry service and airline travel to the Island are still suspended Thursday morning as the Island continues to weather a northeaster that has brought winds gusts up to 77 miles per hours.
The powerful storm has downed trees in several towns and forced road closures, including Beach Road, which spans Oak Bluffs to Edgartown. That road, first closed at around 5 p.m. yesterday, was briefly opened overnight and this morning, before being closed again due to high wind and surf.
The Steamship Authority also remains closed for the second day, with all trips suspended until further notice. The boat line was forced to cancel most trips yesterday, eventually suspending all service by late afternoon.
“The National Weather Service is predicting that high wind gusts are expected to continue into this morning before conditions gradually improve this afternoon. Please check back for further updates as to when ferry service is likely to resume,” the Steamship Authority said.
Cape Air, which canceled all flights into the region yesterday, has suspended travel through 1 p.m.
Meanwhile the Chappaquiddick ferry, which stopped service at 2 p.m. Wednesday, is now operating on a trip-by-trip basis. If conditions do not approve, ferry co-owner Peter Wells said, the ferry may be forced to shut down operations again at approximately 3 p.m. due to high tides and wind. For up-to-date travel information, passengers may call the ferry hotline at 508-627-6965.
The northeaster, which comes just more than a week after Hurricane Sandy passed by the Island, has threatened already storm-battered beaches and roads. The ocean side lane of East Chop Drive from Brewster avenue to Munroe, closed last week due to slumping caused by Hurricane Sandy, remains inaccessible. Yesterday Dukes County Emergency Management Director Chuck Cotnoir announced a portion of the Beach Road bike path had collapsed and would be closed until further notice.
The National Weather Service in Taunton has issued a gale warning for the region through 7 p.m. with the expectation of conditions weakening later today into the evening period. On Island, there is still little sign of the storm's abating strength. Martha's Vineyard Shipyard owner Phil Hale said he recorded a gust of 77 miles per hour overnight on the Vineyard Haven harbor with several gusts reaching 75 miles per hour this morning. Inland, the Martha's Vineyard Airport recorded sustained winds of 35 miles per hour with gusts up to 54 miles per hour.