Officials caution coastal residents as Bill approaches

Officials caution coastal residents as Bill approaches

As Hurricane Bill makes its approach this weekend, the Coast Guard and other state agencies such as the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) are warning residents  on the Cape and Islands to be on the ready.

The Coast Guard is warning boaters and swimmers about the importance of safety on the water and the dangers of high winds, large waves and rip currents. The Coast Guard cautions that coastal residents should familiarize themselves with the following information:

billThe above image from NOAA show the path of Hurricane Bill in the next five days. It is possible that the storm might "graze" the Cape and Islands, particularly Nantucket, causing high seas and winds. Click on the image for a larger view of the map.

Stay informed - The public should monitor the progress and strength of Bill through local television, radio and internet. Boaters can monitor its progress on VHF channel 16. Information on small craft advisories and warnings can also be found on VHF channel 16.

Evacuate as necessary - If mandatory evacuations are set for an area, the public is urged to heed evacuation orders. Coast Guard personnel and other emergency responders may not be able to evacuate those in danger during the storm.

Secure your belongings - Vessel owners are urged to double-check their mooring lines and secure life rings, life jackets and other loose items, preventing their vessel and equipment from breaking free and causing damage.

Be cautious of hazardous materials - If you have hazardous materials on or near the water, you are responsible for any spills that may occur. Take the necessary precautions to secure them prior to any heavy weather.

Both MEMA and the Cape and Islands Chapter of the Red Cross offer hurricane and disaster preparedness tips on their websites.  Although impossible to predict the weather, it is always best to be as prepared and ready as possible in the event of a serious situation.  In addition to the steps you may take at home, a map of Cape shelters is available here.

The Boston Globe is reporting that some Cape and Island Harbormasters are recommending that boat owners either remove their vessels from the water or at least move them to a safer area until Bill has passed the Cape.

You can follow Bill's path on the NOAA site here and the National Weather Service site here.

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