Massachusetts officials and utilities warn residents to prepare for the next storm with heavy rain and strong winds

Meteorologists said the storm would arrive at the end of Christmas Eve and continue on Christmas Day, and the National Weather Service issued a strong wind alert across much of Massachusetts and throughout Rhode Island. The strong wind warning will remain in effect until 4pm on Friday. These strong winds can knock down trees and branches, cutting power lines and widespread power cuts are expected.

Kristie Smith, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Norton, said the winds are expected to be stronger in the eastern and southeastern areas of the state.

“We are really looking in the coastal areas for the strongest winds,” she told the Globe on Thursday.

In addition to strong winds, heavy rains will also be a danger on Christmas Day, with the heaviest rain falling at night and on Christmas morning. Meteorologists said flooding would be a concern, as snowmelt from exceptionally high temperatures mixes with heavy rains. Flood surveillance is in place until Friday night, and temperatures are expected to rise to minus 60 degrees.

Power teams were preparing on Thursday to respond to any damage, and Eversource said it had decided to cancel the vacations of many employees to ensure it could restore power to customers.

Reid Lamberty, an Eversource spokesman, said on Thursday that teams were being brought in from distant places like Pennsylvania and Canada to help restore energy.

“This storm will act like a storm at times, without lightning,” Lamberty told the Globe. “We are predicting widespread outages.”

Eversource is paying special attention to the South Shore, where meteorologists are forecasting gusts of up to 70 miles per hour.

But Lamberty said there would be hundreds of “field resources” responding to the storm in his service area, including tree and line crews that were being deployed on Thursday and would be ready to leave as soon as it was safe.

“The timing couldn’t be worse, of course, coming up for Christmas, but we can’t control the weather,” he said. “However, we can control how we are prepared, and we are.”

Public services and state authorities have asked residents to prepare themselves with fully charged phones and laptops and a rain kit that includes food and water. The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency said in a statement that it is monitoring the situation and that people should have batteries and flashlights ready, ensure that generators are working and bring in any items that may be at risk of exploding, such as inflatable Christmas ornaments.

Smith said that flooding is the main concern with this storm because of “the rapid melting of snow that we will be experiencing with these high temperatures”.

“Especially in the flood-prone areas of the state, but it can really happen anywhere tomorrow,” she said, noting that more than two inches of rain is expected across the state.

MEMA officials said residents should check that the reservoir pumps are working, raise items in basements that are subject to flooding and clean the collection basins from the streets to allow water to drain.

On Friday night, winds will calm down across the region and temperatures will drop rapidly to around 20 degrees inland, according to the National Meteorological Service.

Christina Prignano can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on twitter @cprignano. Brittany Bowker can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @brittbowker.