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High Winds, Heavy Rains Usher in Christmas 2020
Staff Reports,
12:01PM / Thursday, December 24, 2020
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The National Weather Service in Albany, N.Y., has issued a high wind warning from 6 p.m. Thursday into the afternoon on Christmas Day. 
 
The forecast is for damaging winds of up to 70 mph that could blow down trees and power lines. NWS is predicting widespread power outages and difficult travel conditions.
 
The storm will be accompanied by heavy rains that could cause flooding in low-lying areas. The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency is warning of 2 to 3 inches of rain between Thursday and Friday night. 
 
The city of North Adams issued a Code Alert asking for residents to prepare for power outages by charging phones and other devices, bringing in inflatable and holiday decorations and yard furniture, and limiting travel. City residents should contact police dispatch in case of emergency at 413-664-4944, and limit travel. 
 
Damaging winds will blow down trees and power lines widespread power outages are expected. Travel will be difficult, especially for high profile vehicles.
 
National Grid reports its preparing for the powerful storm and that power outages could take days to restore.
 
"We have canceled employee vacations, secured additional crews, and put emergency plans in place in anticipation of this severe, ill-timed storm," said Michael McCallan, vice president of electric operations for New England in a statement. "We're prepared for the storm and its aftermath. We recognize that no outage is convenient, and we’re particularly conscious of the timing of this storm, when so many of our customers will be celebrating the holidays at home during what continues to be a challenging year."
 
Nearly 1,700 field-based workers in New England have been secured as part of National Grid’s emergency response operations. This includes overhead line, forestry, contractors, underground, damage assessment, wires down, transmission, and substation workers.   
 
The company says it has been preparing for the storm for days, and is continuing to monitor the weather, communicating with local officials, first responders, and life support customers.
 
The heavy rains will be followed by a deep freeze as a massive storm system that has resulted in blizzard conditions over the Midwest moves toward the Atlantic Coast. Temperatures are expected to dip into the 30s in the state of Florida.
 
"Advancing cold air will continue to catch up with the back edge of a storm and a trailing cold front in the Central, Southern and Eastern states, causing wintry weather and a slew of hazards for motorists," cautions Accuweather
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