Mass. governor lifts Hurricane Lee state of emergency

Shortly before 11 a.m., the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced President Biden approved federal disaster assistance for Massachusetts.

Governor Maura Healey had announced Friday that she was seeking the emergency declaration from Biden to speed federal aid to the state, where Cape Cod and the Islands were expected to bear the brunt of the storm.

But shortly after noon Saturday, Healey’s office announced she lifted the state of emergency she had enacted the day before in anticipation of severe weather and flooding.

In a statement, Healey said “[w]e’re relieved that the impacts of Hurricane Lee have been minimal across Massachusetts” and expressed gratitude for public safety officials “who have been responding to and preparing for severe weather and flooding throughout the week.”

She was referring to the torrential downpours that had pounded Leominster and affected several other communities early last week.

“Flooding devastated several of our communities this week and we will continue to support them as they move into the recovery phase,” she said. “We thank the people of Massachusetts for their preparation and resiliency.”

On Monday and Tuesday, heavy rains washed out roads, train tracks, and left much of Leominster’s downtown underwater. US Representative Jim McGovern toured the city Saturday as Healey and members of the state’s congressional delegation pushed for the federal government to offer financial aid.

“Leominster needs help now,” McGovern, a Worcester Democrat, said in a phone interview Saturday. “Every hour that goes by that we don’t have this federal aid is going to make matters worse.”

In other parts of the state, Lee’s impact left thousands of customers dealing with power outages. As of 4:28 p.m., more than 1,500 customers were without electricity, according to the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency’s outage map.

The largest share of those outages — 23 percent — were in Everett, according to the map. Earlier Saturday, most of the customers without electricity were on Cape Cod.

Between 6 p.m. Friday and 9:30 a.m. Saturday, crews for Eversource, which serves Cape Cod, restored power to 6,900 customers, the utility said.

On the South Shore, a tree crushed a police SUV near South Main Street and River Road in Cohasset. In a Facebook post, Cohasset police said the officer inside the vehicle was “ok.”

The strongest winds Lee spawned in Massachusetts were at Chapin Memorial Beach in Dennis, reaching 62 miles per hour at 3:45 a.m., according to the National Weather Service.

Later in the day, five kite surfers chased the wind there, soaring over white-capped waters.

“It was sick,” Mike Kozub, a kite surfer from Mashpee, said, appreciating the experience after emerging from the ocean.

Elsewhere on Cape Cod, emergency officials said they were in control of effects from the scattered rain, downed tree limbs, and gusty winds from Lee.

“Everyone is sitting here with a cup of coffee asking where did the storm go?” Harwich Fire Captain Joseph Mayo said early Saturday morning.

“Just boredom,” he said.

In Provincetown, Fire Chief Michael Trovato said: “It’s just a typical windy day on Cape Cod.”

On Boston Harbor, Kevin Hagopian, 27, said he was “pretty disappointed” with Lee.

“I obviously don’t wish destruction on any place, but I get excited for all major weather events,” said Hagopian, who was taking in the storm under dry skies near the New England Aquarium.

“I knew I was coming out here no matter what, just to get some pictures of the waves, so I was super bummed to see the storm moving east,” he said.

Hagopian and his partner, Emily Cabatic, 25, said they checked the gas in their camping stove and stocked their apartment near Northeastern University with toilet paper and two gallons of water.

“All our friends were laughing [Saturday] morning when they saw the weather,” said Cabatic. “We look like doomsday preppers.”

Another couple, Kevin Dapper, 25, and Megan Koy, 29, said they were visiting Boston from Houston and planned to tour the aquarium.

“Where we’re from, hurricanes are hot and tend to come with a lot of flash flooding, so getting a cool breeze like this is honestly refreshing,” Dapper said.

A huge wave crashed over the new seawall at Brant Rock in Marshfield. John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

At Logan International Airport, there were more than 200 cancellations and at least 57 delays Saturday, according to the website FlightAware, which tracks air traffic.

All flights between Logan and airports in Barnstable, Provincetown, and Martha’s Vineyard were canceled Saturday, according to FlightAware. On Nantucket, a charter jet flew from the island to Logan Saturday afternoon, but all other flights were canceled, the website said.

For people trying to reach the islands off Cape Cod by ferry, the Steamship Authority said on its website that it was making decisions about its service to Nantucket on a trip-by-trip basis.

Trips to Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard were diverted to Vineyard Haven and freight service was consolidated due to “low demand,” the authority’s website said.

The MBTA had suspended all of its ferry services on Saturday.

In Oak Bluffs, Eversource assigned additional crews that quickly addressed isolated power outages from fallen tree limbs or power lines, Oak Bluffs Fire Chief Nelson Wirtz said in a phone interview.

The storm hit Martha’s Vineyard while the island was experiencing low tides, he said.

“The possible coastal flooding that was forecast didn’t actually happen,” Wirtz said. “It was a little wet here because of the rain, but other than that, it wasn’t bad.”

“We did get some pretty good wind gusts,” he said. “But this basically felt like a moderate nor’easter. And we weather those quite well.”

A Chatham police officer stood by a downed tree Saturday morning.
Erin Clark/Globe Staff

Chatham also had been expected to get hit hard by the storm but was unscathed Saturday morning.

“Just a couple of puddles and some leaves,” said Chatham Fire Chief Justin Tavano. “There are some winds and small trees down, but nothing significant.”

Tavano said the storm’s direction, moving farther east, helped.

“Much to do about nothing, but we would rather have it that way,” he said.

Sunday promises to bring nicer weather, said Alan Dunham, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Norton.

Expect sunny skies, high temperatures of about 80 degrees, he said, and a light wind from the east.

Globe correspondent Bailey Allen contributed to this report.

Laura Crimaldi can be reached at Follow her @lauracrimaldi. Ivy Scott can be reached at Follow her @itsivyscott.

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