PROVINCETOWN - Two Canadian sailors are safe after receiving reports of the upcoming dangerous winter storm from a U.S. Coast Guard aircrew and getting a tow to Provincetown, from a Coast Guard boatcrew, Sunday.
Sailors aboard the 37-foot Rodeo were about 150 miles east of Provincetown, Mass., Friday, when an HU-25 Falcon jet crew from Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod was performing offshore storm track weather warnings and was contacted by the sailors.
“They called us just before we made our last broadcast and headed back to Cape Cod,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Spencer Vince, a crewman aboard the Falcon who was making the broadcasts. “They didn’t seem to know there was a storm coming so we told them what the scenario was. They took the warning seriously.”
The sailors were on their way from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Long Island, N.Y., but headed toward Cape Cod, Mass., after hearing the Coast Guard’s weather warning.
At 12:37 a.m., Sunday the sailors called the Coast Guard again reporting their engine was failing and they would need a tow into port. The engine did fail, leaving the sailors in 12 to 15-foot seas with occasional 20-foot swells and no power more than seven miles south of Provincetown Harbor.
An urgent marine broadcast was issued, but due to severe weather conditions, commercial towboat companies were unable to tow the Rodeo.
A 47-foot Motor Lifeboat crew from Coast Guard Station Provincetown was dispatched to tow the Rodeo into port and arrived on scene around 1:35 a.m.
In addition to the 12 to 15-foot seas, the crews also faced 40 to 50-knot winds that gusted up to 60 knots with only 20 feet of visibility.
At around 5:13 a.m., the crews were in Provincetown Harbor and tried to anchor the sailboat and remove the two people aboard. However, the anchor wasn’t holding and with the weather, it was too dangerous to remove the sailors from the Rodeo.
The station crew once again took the sailboat in tow, but the towline parted. After putting the sailboat into a stern tow again, the towline then came off the bow of the sailing vessel. Each time the tow was broken, the Rodeo drifted further and further out to sea because of the high winds and seas.
After several tows, both vessels moored safely at MacMillan Wharf in Provincetown at 7:07 a.m.
The local harbormaster assisted the Coast Guard crew at the dock and also took the sailors to get them warm. They declined a trip to the hospital.
“This case is the biggest reason why we highly encourage all mariners to listen to the radio for weather warnings and take appropriate action,” said Scott Backholm, the search and rescue controller at Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England. “These broadcasts really can save your life. Luckily these sailors were listening to our broadcast and were able to head back to shore.”
The man and woman aboard the Rodeo are from St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada. There were no injuries reported.
When CWN cameras arrived on Monday the vessel was still tied up with one sail up and clothes and belongings hung out to dry in the sunlight.
Media release furnished by U.S. Coast Guard; photo by Tim Caldwell/CWN
At 9 p.m. Sunday NStar reported that crews from as far away as Michigan were on the way to assist in restoring power to some 74,000 NStar customers in the western service area including Framingham, Waltham and Walpole and on Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard. NStar has implemented its Level 5 emergency response plan, the same one that is used for incidents such as Tropical storm Irene. NStar says that power restoration will be a multi-day effort. The utility asks that customer report power outages via nstar.com or 800-592-2000. Please stay away from downed wires.
On Cape Cod small limbs and large trees were brought down as can be seen in the picture at right (click to enlarge) on Greenwood Drive in East Dennis. A large pine tree in the yard of 14 Greenwood toppled over around 9:30 a.m. Sunday morning, ripping the electical service from the house and landing on a car parked at 10 Greenwood Drive.
Update 7 a.m.: a NE wind gust to 68 MPH was reported at Nantucket with a 55 MPH gust at Provincetown. A ham radio operator reported a 69 MPH gust in Barnstable. The elevated Mayflower Heights section of Provincetown reported a 65 MPH gust. A number of power outages are reported due to falling trees, some of which are blocking roads. Power has been out to all of Provincetown, Truro and part of Wellfleet for several hours. People are advised not to travel unless absolutely necessary as more limbs could still crash down. According to the National Weather Service, Old Main Street in Sandwich was under 1 1/2 to 2 feet of water due to coastal flooding over the seawall early this morning and was impassible.
Early this morning, CWN's Frank Paparo took the photo at middle right showing a tree down across Old Stage Road just west of Route 28.
Update 12 noon: NStar reports 27,000 customers without power on the Cape and Vineyard. The swath of power outages extends from Mashpee to Provincetown with Dennis being particularly hard hit.
Update 3 p.m.: Power was restored to the outer Cape during the mid-morning.
Even the Provincetown Police Department station did not escape the wrath of high winds overnight.
One of the 2 trees donated by the Provincetown Beautification Committee (planted in the early 1990’s) was severely damaged.
Despite the tree damage and the power outage we previously reported on, none of the stations capabilities were impaired.
Lower photo courtesy of Provincetown Police (click photos to enlarge)
Dennis police offer post-storm advice
DENNIS - The October storm yesterday and this morning caused numerous trees and utility wires to come down. As a result there are still homes and businesses without power in the town of Dennis. We are working with NStar Electric to determine when all power will be restored but at this time an exact time is unknown.
CENTERVILLE - At about 4:45 p.m. Sunday a two-vehicle crash occurred on Route 28 just north of Ames Way in Centerville when a Nissan SUV struck a Toyota sedan in the side.
Man killed in Sandwich crash
FORESTDALE - A Dodge Ram 1500 collided with a Toyota Tacoma on Snake Pond Road some time after 1:30 p.m. on Sunday. The collision occurred in front of 83 Snake Pond Road. Two people were transported to Cape Cod Hospital. The driver of the Dodge may have suffered a medical condition and later died.
Photo by CWN associate Andrew Jones
Update: The photo at right bears mute testiomony to the tragedy with a memorial in place Sunday morning at one of the two trees struck by the vehicle.
Update: The victims have been identified see update here.
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