Hurricane Bill has already become a dangerous Category 4 storm over the Atlantic ocean, and it remains a question if and when it will hit the Bay State. Although as of now there is only a 5 percent chance of the storm striking, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency believes residents living near the harbor should begin to follow the weather forecast very closely.

With Hurricane Bill becoming a dangerous Category 4 storm over the ocean, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency is advising residents to follow the weather forecast very closely.


Peter Judge, spokesman of MEMA, said residents living near the water should take precautions if the forecast gets worse.


According to Patriot Ledger meteorologist Rob Gilman as of Wednesday, there is only a 5 percent chance of Bill hitting New England. If it does, it will hit Sunday night.


Local harbormasters are preparing for the possibility of the storm striking the area.


Mike Dimeo, harbormaster in Marshfield for 20 years, has doubled his staff for this weekend and expects a lot of rip-tides in the waters.


“We have extra lines and extra anchors,” Dimeo said.


In case of a hurricane, Dimeo said the Marshfield Yacht Club will open its parking lot area to allow owners to get their boats out of the water.


Duxbury Harbormaster Donald Beers said as of now, the hurricane poses no threat to Massachusetts residents.


“Right now, it’s a watching game,” he said. “We are very progressive when it comes to storm control and we are watching it very carefully.”





HURRICANE BILL INFO



VIDEO: The Weather Channel's Tropical Update on Hurricane Bill


Check out the projected path of the storm


Weather.com map tracks Bill's wake


National Hurricane Center






Forecasters do not expect Hurricane Bill to be the only storm to threaten to New England this season.


In December, hurricane forecasters at Colorado State University predicted above-average hurricane activity in the Atlantic for the 2009 season. The university predicted 14 named storms, including seven hurricanes – three major.


“It’s only a matter of time that Massachusetts gets hit with a major hurricane,” Gilman said.


Hurricane Bob in 1991 was the last hurricane to hit the area.


Judge said that many residents may not remember the impact past hurricanes have had on the state.


Norwell Fire Chief Andrew Reardon remembers dealing with the power outages and destruction of both Bob and in 1985 with Hurricane Gloria.


“We need to recognize that we are along the East Coast and hurricanes do come in,” Reardon said. “We have made provisions over the years to deal with these things.”


Reardon and his department have reviewed emergency plans and will be prepared if evacuations are necessary.


MEMA advises residents to keep a hurricane kit in their household including a portable radio, flashlight, extra batteries, a supply of non-perishable foods, along with bottled water, a first-aid kit, extra prescription medication, and extra food and supplies for infants and pets.


The Patriot Ledger