BOSTON (CBS/AP) — Residents and Massachusetts emergency management officials are preparing for the likelihood of Hurricane Irene impacting the state.

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A spokesman for the state agency says officials are taking the threat “very seriously” even though Irene is not expected to hit Massachusetts until the weekend, and it could be downgraded to a tropical storm by that time.

Related: Hurricane Irene – What To Expect

WBZ-TV’s Jonathan Elias Spoke To Boaters

State officials have been spending the week on the phone with officials in other New England states, FEMA and the National Weather Service to make sure the region is fully prepared.

That includes ensuring that communications systems are working; there are enough sandbags; everyone has the proper phone numbers; and staffing plans are up to date.

Even if Irene stays off shore, it is still expected to bring high winds and heavy rain.

WBZ-TV’s Bill Shields reports

We’re going to keep an eye on things hour by hour,” says the President of Kingman Yacht Center in Bourne.

Scott Zeine says there’s no panic, just concern. “We’ll know more by tomorrow morning.”

Tom and Deborah Hawkins were leaving the marina on their 35′ sailboat, with five young sailors on board.

“It’s suspposed to be a three-day cruise,” said Tom, “but if the hurricane starts pointing this way, we’ll come back on Friday”.

Everywhere along the Cape and South Coast Wednesday, people were watching forecasters and getting prepared. “Yea, we’re getting busy, pulling boats out of the water,” said Lauren Lemieux of Barden’s Marine Center, “a lot of owners are calling and asking to bring their boats on shore,” she said.

Marion’s harbormaster, Mike Cormier, remembers when Hurricane Bob left boats on Front Street, but maybe not this time. “Many of the moorings are now Helix screw-in, they won’t go anywhere.”

In Wareham, the manager of an Aubuchon Hardware store says the run is already happening. “Propane, batteries, that’s what people are buying, ” said Bob Cooney, “and I hope we have a truck coming in tonight or tomorrow…we need hurricane supplies.”

WBZ-TV’s Bill Shields contributed to this report

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (5)
  1. Joe says:

    This statement is not based on any meteorological knowledge or analysis. But my gut is telling me that this one is going to follow the worst possible track and that we are going to get a cat 1 to cat 2 hurricane. I just feel the storm surge on the cape and the south facing coast line is going to be catastrophic. I feel the eye is barely or never going to make landfall until long island and then us.

    Again, this is just a gut feeling. It will be almost 20 years to the day from hurricane bob and then later that fall the infamous perfect storm in October. Folks, we are overdue…..

    PS. If the government, EPA and DEP don’t drop the ridiculous coastal restrictions and allow major coastal reconstruction after this hurricane then we can kiss major parts of the cape goodbye!

    Yes, we can do all of the following in a safe and very environmentally friendly way in order to save our coastal history and property.

    * Run heavy equipment thru dunes onto beaches, build amazingly strong sea walls, truck in virgin sand to rebuild miles of coastline, change entrances and jettys to harbors, plant new sea grass and vegetation and make it look like we were never there in a way that will protect and improve the ecosystems they try so hard to protect.

    Instead the government is making some property owners in chatham abandon their property and they will be destroyed. Funny thing is they will walk excavators on the beach too knock the house down instead of using it to save it.

    Don’t forget, a hurricane will do more natural damage to a coastline and its ecosystem in 8 hours than a D8 dozer or excavator can ever dream of doing! This government is so ignorant, righteous and ass backwards its truly getting very scary.

    1. Dave says:

      GOOD! Those people SHOULD have to abandon their property! Anything else is OUTRAGEOUS and RIDICULOUS!

      YOU want to buy property inches from the ocean, than DEAL WITH IT ===>

      1. Italo says:

        Amen, Dave! So true.

  2. donny says:

    Joe, My gut tells me it’s citizens like you who are scary.

  3. rosalie fontaine says:

    I am disappoited wth CBS that they are giving the storm this much coverage, especially a tropical storm. I was waitng to see the show Sunday Morning. Perhaph I’ll watch NBC from now on

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