No winter wonderland this Christmas: Massachusetts, get ready for heavy rain and strong winds

A nasty, unseasonably warm rainstorm is set to blast through the region on Christmas Eve into Christmas Day, potentially sparking widespread power outages during the holiday.
Forecasters are warning anyone on the road to take it slow as wind gusts are predicted to hit 60 mph — with some isolated gusts in the 70 mph range.
The powerful gusts could knock out power for many across Massachusetts. The winds could topple trees and power lines, according to forecasters.
“With the risk for power outages, folks should make sure they have everything charged up ahead of Thursday night,” National Weather Service meteorologist Bill Leatham said.
“And if you have to travel, take it slow because there could be some issues on the roads,” he added.
The National Weather Service is predicting 2 to 3 inches of rain between Thursday night and Friday night. The combination of heavy rainfall and melting snow could cause some localized flooding.
It will be a temperature roller coaster over the next few days. Temps will approach 60 degrees Friday morning, but then a cold front will bring plunging temps into the weekend. High temps on Saturday will be in the 30s.
Massachusetts utility companies on Wednesday said they’re prepared ahead of the storm. Eversource said it’s mobilizing hundreds of field resources, and will preposition its crews across the Bay State to respond to any damage or power outages.
“The holidays are a difficult time for storms like this, but our team is ready and will respond as quickly and safely as we can,” Eversource VP of Electric Operations Doug Foley said in a statement. “We’re taking all necessary actions now, including canceling all employee vacations and stockpiling all needed equipment at our work centers throughout the state, to respond to any damage to the electric system and restore power as quickly as possible so our customers who celebrate can enjoy their holiday.”
Unitil Corporation said it plans to open its system and regional Emergency Operations Centers on Christmas morning. Crews will be standing by in all regions.
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“We are extremely mindful that this is a major holiday for families throughout our region and we have secured additional crews to aid in addressing outages should they occur,” Unitil VP of Communications and Public Affairs Carol Valianti said in a statement. “The greatest current risk is associated with the strong front that will pass through the region Christmas morning. The path, strength and duration of the front can have an enormous effect on this type of weather event’s impact.”
People ahead of the storm are urged to assemble a storm kit with essential items, including water, medications, nonperishable food, a first-aid kit, flashlights, batteries and a battery-operated radio.

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