Though Hurricane Irene's path is still somewhat uncertain, Southern New England is not taking any chances.
Per the most recent advisories Thursday afternoon, Irene was expected to pass directly through Western Massachusetts Sunday night, potentially allowing Boston and Cape Cod to escape catastrophic damage -- although everyone in the state and neighboring Rhode Island should expect to feel the effects of the significant and destructive storm.
We're not getting out of this without some significant weather one way or the other, Bill Simpson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Taunton, Mass., told The Boston Globe. This is not, like, 'There it goes! Near miss.'
Boston's Logan Airport posted a message for its social media followers -- and Irene -- Thursday afternoon, showing bravery in the face of the hurricane's threat. Boston Logan is prepared for Irene. Staff is on standby, our irregular operations plan is ready to roll, we have extra equipment and supplies in place, and we are waiting. Bring it on Irene! (But don't stay long.)
Mike Milewski, a Director at Fidelity Investments who lives in Framingham, Mass., said that people in and around Boston were beginning to be concerned about Irene's potential damage.
I don't think this is going to be a joke, he told IBTimes.
Milewski remembers the impact of 1985's Hurricane Gloria on the Auburn, Mass., home where he grew up.
We lost some pretty big trees in the yard, and there was a big giant ball of earth that came up with one when it fell, he said, recalling that heavy rain had seeped into the soil, which helped the wind easily dislodge the tree.
He mentioned that he would probably have his three year-old daughter sleep in her parents' bedroom Sunday night, since her bedroom is on the side of the house facing the only tree that might be a threat.
All of the televisions at Fidelity's Marlborough office were tuned into weather stations Thursday while people tried to get a sense of Irene's intentions. They're telling us to have a three-day supply of water on hand, Milewski said.
By late in the day Thursday, an estimated 200,000 people had evacuated North Carolina's barrier islands as Irene approached the Southern state. Although Irene is now listed as a Category 3 storm, it is possible that it will escalate to a Category 4 by the time it reaches North Carolina.
With Irene relentlessly pushing up the U.S. coastline, officials in the coastal community of Ocean City, Md., have ordered residents to evacuate.
Evacuations are still being considered in New York City -- which is directly in Irene's path -- but NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg said formal evacuation decisions would not be made until closer to the weekend.
We don't have enough information yet to make that call, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a Queens news conference Thursday morning. The timing is a bit up in the air, as it is with all these things.
With the storm still likely a few days away from New England, it's a bit early to anticipate the severity of Hurrican Irene's impact on Massachusetts.
You're not going to know what the damage is going to be until you wake up Monday morning, Milewski said.
We're in the cone of uncertainty, that's for sure.