Christmas came early for storm-chasers this year, as a major storm forecast to bring 65 mph wind gusts and heavy rain approaches New England ahead of the holiday weekend.

The National Weather Service warned of the potential for downed trees and power outages from Thursday night into Christmas Eve morning. A coastal flood warning of one to two feet is in effect from 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday.

“People should avoid being outside in forested areas and around trees and branches,” the weather service advised. “If possible, remain in the lower levels of your home during the windstorm, and avoid windows. Use caution if you must drive.”

The Steamship Authority is already taking precautions, canceling boats Friday morning from 6 to 10 a.m.

“We’re taking it in chunks from there,” said SSA communications director Sean Driscoll. “Mother Nature is a fickle thing and forecasts can be wrong so we’re hesitant to cancel the whole day. Other than that we’re hunkering down and battening down the hatches like everyone else.”

The SSA has also waived all re-booking or cancellation fees from Dec. 23 to Dec. 24.

Eversource spokesman Chris McKinnon said that the public utility company will be working “around-the-clock” with auxiliary crews to restore power in the event of widespread outages.

“We have extra resources coming from as far away as the Midwest,” Mr. McKinnon said over the phone. “We began planning at the beginning of the week...transitioning people from their ‘blue sky’ jobs to their storm roles, making sure we have enough people for the job, making sure they have their ferry reservations, food and lodging so they are here before the storm actually hits.”

In the event of an outage, Mr. McKinnon advised that residents charge their phones and gather any necessities ahead of time. He also urged individuals to stay away from downed power lines.

“With any power line, you’re always operating under the assumption that it might be live,” he said, adding that individuals should report any fallen power lines to a public safety official.

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