Streets flood Nantucket during morning high tide

Several streets in Nantucket were inundated with seawater at high tide Saturday morning as the mighty northeast brought storm surges over 3 feet, according to the National Weather Service.

The tide came in around 9:30 a.m. and was estimated to be 3.3 feet above normal astronomical high tide, said Rob Megnia, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Norton.

The water was high enough for a group of Nantucket High School students to paddle through the streets in canoes, as shown in a video shared on Twitter by the Nantucket Current, a news bulletin for Nantucket Magazine.

Nantucket police were warning drivers to avoid Easy Street, Francis Street, Washington Street and Easton Street, all of which were flooded.

Photos and videos shared on social media on Saturday morning showed floodwaters pouring down several streets as winds swept across the island and snow continued to fall from gray skies above.

As severe as it may seem, the storm surge was considered moderate at best and is in no way considered historic, Megnia said.

“It would have taken another 2 feet to reach the major category,” he said. “Nothing to scoff at but pretty mediocre in terms of historical comparison.”

Therein lies one of the big differences between this storm and the 1978 blizzard, which caused much more severe flooding along the coast, Megnia said.

“The floods had a huge impact from that [1978] storm,” he said.

In Boston, seawater swept through the walkways of the seaport and along the city’s waterfront as the tide shifted Saturday morning. The storm surge in Boston was about 2.5 feet above normal tide, Megnia said.

Forecasters were predicting some minor flooding along the coast during the high tide on Saturday night, expected around 8.50pm, but said the worst was over.

“Some vulnerable spots might get splashed with high tide, but nothing like this morning,” Megnia said.

Nick Stoico can be contacted at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @NickStoico.

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