THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING

Storm may dampen area’s outdoor plans

High wind gusts, heavy rains forecast

By Milton J. Valencia
Globe Staff / August 29, 2009

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It had the potential for a picture-perfect late-August day: residents, local officials, and world luminaries memorializing the beloved Senator Edward M. Kennedy in Mission Hill, the Caribbean-American community showcasing its culture at an annual festival in Dorchester, and in the evening the Red Sox taking the field at Fenway Park.

But Tropical Storm Danny, making its way northeast over the Atlantic Ocean, threatens to spoil any hope of a dry day today, bringing strong winds and pouring rains from morning to night.

“It won’t be a pleasant weekend for any outdoor plans,’’ said Dennis Feltgen, spokesman for the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

By the time Danny reaches the area this morning, with rains having started overnight, the storm will have lost much of its power and will be downgraded to a typical fall coastal storm.

But still, it will bring with it heavy rains, with the area expecting 2 to 4 inches by nightfall, said Joe Dellicarpini, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Boston.

Passing just 90 miles east of Cape Cod, the storm could also carry winds gusting as high as 45 miles per hour, threatening tree limbs and power lines.

And the seas, still swelling from last week’s passing of Hurricane Bill, are expected to be rough for swimmers and boaters alike, with warnings of rip tides, flooding, and dangerous surf conditions.

“We will still have the dangers of strong winds, rough seas offshore, rip currents, and heavy rain along southern New England,’’ Dellicarpini said.

The rough seas could last until tomorrow, continuing the dangers of rip currents and flooding, he said.

The Department of Conservation and Recreation will prohibit swimming at several beaches because of the storm, said Wendy Fox, a spokeswoman for the state agency. The beaches are Horseneck Beach in Westport, Nahant Beach, Nantasket Beach in Hull, Revere Beach, Salisbury Beach, and Winthrop Beach.

Also, ferry service from Boston’s Long Wharf, Quincy, Hingham, and Hull to the Boston Harbor islands and back will be canceled, Fox said.

Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency spokesman Steve Kass said in a statement that mariners should have returned to port yesterday and should stay in port until the storm passes.

The day’s rains could not come at a worse time for the thousands of students planning to move into their college dorms for the beginning of the fall semester.

It will also be a logistical nightmare for police officials planning security measures and patrols for the move-in day, the festival, and Kennedy’s heavily attended funeral Mass. Boston police plan to flood city streets with 1,000 to 2,000 officers.

The storm could douse the plans of thousands of well-wishers who planned to line the route of Kennedy’s motorcade as it makes its way from the JFK Library in Dorchester, north on Interstate 93, toward Melnea Cass Boulevard and into Mission Hill for a “Celebration of Life.’’ Already, more than 50,000 people had flocked to honor Kennedy as he lay in repose.

President Obama, vacationing in Martha’s Vineyard and scheduled to give the eulogy at the funeral Mass, flew into the area last night in advance of the storm.

Carl Smith, vice president of the Caribbean American Carnival Association of Boston Inc., said last night preparations for the parade and festival were continuing. A stage was being built last night, and organizers plan to make a final decision this morning. But he hopes the event, with floats and bands making their way from Martin Luther King Boulevard to Franklin Park beginning at noon, will go on.

“This is our culture,’’ he said, “and we look forward to this every year.’’

Globe correspondent Michaela Stanelun contributed to this report.