Businesses blocked doors with sandbags and officials warned residents of waterfront homes to be ready to evacuate as the northeastern United States braced for a powerful storm on Friday that threatened to flood coasts from Maine to North Carolina.
Along Boston's Long Wharf, not far from the Fanueil Hall tourist area, large piles of sandbags were in place around a subway station and a Marriott hotel, a spot that flooded with icy seawater during an early January storm.
A combination of heavy rains, monthly extreme high tides and a wind-driven storm surge could combine to cause several feet of water to flow onto streets in coastal parts of Boston and up and down the shoreline, government and private weather forecasters warned. High winds of up to 75 miles per hour (120 kmph) could also bring extensive power outages.
"People need to take this very seriously," Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker told a Thursday press conference, telling people to prepare for a repeat of the flooding that affected much of state's east coast during the Jan. 4 "bombogenesis" winter storm. "If you live in an area that is told to evacuate, we strongly encourage you do so first thing Friday morning."