Thursday, 8:10 p.m. – If you do have Internet access during the storm, whether by smartphone or a laptop with an aircard, you can check the electricity status via National Grid’s website here.
Also, from our Johnston site, Rhode Island Associate Regional Editor Patrick Luce was at a RIEMA press conference today. You can read his report here.
In weather news, there is a rip current warning in effect for the southern coast of Rhode Island – Conditions are already choppy, thanks to some less-than-great weather tonight. The storm is still projected to hit on Sunday night, according to Weather.com.
And finally, some tips from Christine, a reader from Hope Valley:
The best idea ever is to get some candles, get out the board games, put your milk and lunchmeat in a cooler, and tie down the lawn furniture. Peanut butter, banana and potato chip sandwiches are great, and tie the grill to the back door for some hot dogs!
Go get the people who you worry about (grandmas, etc). Don't expect your whiskey to stay cold, and enjoy the weekend!
Some other great ideas: freeze the milk first, use bags of ice for the cooler (don't let it loose, it melts too fast). Put all your ice packs in the freezer beforehand (if you don’t already keep them there). They'll stay frozen longer than the ice that you'll want for your whiskey, because your pacing the floor grandmother, bossy and picky mother, mother and father-in-law (who get to win every argument because they gave you the down payment for your house), deaf grandpa in his diaper and a bunch of fighting kids are going to be in your house for 72 hours!
P.S. Watch the wind direction, and move your car accordingly. It seems that the hurricane ions are magnetic, and it compels trees to land on windshields.
Thursday, 4 p.m. – According to Narragansett Town Manager Grady Miller, the latest forecasts for a slowed-down Hurricane Irene now have it making landfill on Sunday evening and night, as opposed to Saturday.
“What we had been told yesterday was significantly different than today,” he said. “What we think right now is that right now, it’s going to be hitting Sunday night.”
In light of the revised storm schedule, Miller said the town has made some adjustments to its schedule. Miller and other emergency officials will be having another conference call with RIEMA at 1 p.m. Friday, after which they will decide when to meet again on Saturday.
“The storm has been changing a little bit as it has been evolving,” he said.
At that Saturday meeting, they will finalize plans for an operations center at the town hall on Sunday. The operations center would be in handle of prioritizing clean-up and rescue efforts.
As of now, Miller is encouraging residents to remain cautious and safe.
“Right now, we have not made a determination if we’re going to make a call on evacuations,” he said, adding that they would wait to look at the forecasts for another day. “We’re encouraging [residents] to consider leaving, but we’re just saying on a voluntary basis at this point.”
For a copy of the proposed evacuation maps, click here, or see the attached PDF. As a general rule of thumb, if you’re between the ocean and Ocean Road, you are probably on the evacuation map, along with all of Galilee and the South End – Sand Hill Cove, Great Island and Pt. Judith.
The emergency shelter for the town will be Narragansett High School. Pets can be taken to the South Kingstown animal shelter, and if that fills up, an additional facility will be opened at the old Narragansett Public Works building on Avice Street.
Miller said that if residents decide not to evacuate, they should prepare sufficient food and water for at least 72 hours. He also encouraged people to make sure they had enough batteries, flashlights and medical supplies on hand.
As far as town crews go, Miller said they were now busy securing town facilities. He said the town has a checklist it goes by, based on it frequently having to deal with nor’easters, blizzards and other storms throughout the year.
Thursday, 1:20 p.m. – People like to sound important. Weathermen on television talk about “shower activity.” Sounds more important than "showers." I even heard one guy on CNN talk about a "rain event!” I swear to God, he said, "Louisiana is expecting a rain event." And I thought, "Holy ****, I hope I can get tickets to that!" – George Carlin
So, uh, as Mr. Carlin stated, we’re scheduled to have a bit of a rain event this weekend.
As of Thursday afternoon, Hurricane Irene is expected to make landfall in Rhode Island late Saturday night or early Sunday morning. You can expect strong winds and heavy rains, as Irene is still expected to be a category one or two hurricane by then.
Like any emergency situation, please follow standard safety procedures.
- In the words of Douglas Adams, “Don’t panic.”
- Stock up on your emergency gear today, if you can. Pool resources with neighbors and family members, since you can expect shortages from stores. Checking in with a friend at Stop and Shop, they’re already getting a run on the Rhode Island staples – milk, bread and fresh water. Don’t forget other things, like Tylenol and other medicines, a sleeping bag and bottled water, in case you have to evacuate.
- Stock up on things like candles, flashlights and batteries. In an extended power outage, you might need to rely on natural light and these power sources for several days. If you avoid unnecessary opening of the fridge, it’ll stay for about four hours according to the USDA. Freezer food will stay for 24 to 48 hours.
- If you’ve been putting off some little household repairs for a while, now is a good time to take care of them. It’ll be your own damn fault if that rusty shutter flies off and breaks your car window, after all. If you have a boat, do your best to secure it properly.
- Take careful accounting of your frailest family members: children, pets and the elderly.
- Check with your insurance company about your coverage. It might be too late to add or modify your homeowner’s insurance, but you should at least be aware of what coverage you have.
- According to members of the Narragansett School Committee and Superintendent Kathy Sipala, school is currently scheduled to begin on Tuesday as scheduled. It would only be delayed in the event of a catastrophic weather event – If power is still out then, or if parts of town are still flooded.
You can find more information from the town, like the evacuation route and shelter locations, here.
Do you have your own tips for staying safe in the hurricane? Any helpful links? What sites do you like to use for weather updates? Are you a group with a scheduled activity this weekend that you’re canceling? Let us know in the comments section!
As far as our own coverage, Narragansett Patch will be providing updates for as long as we have power on Saturday and Sunday. If this (hopefully) turns out to be nothing, then we will be on our usual weekend schedule of just three to four stories.
We’re definitely looking for any input you can provide, and any sort of media from the storm – pictures, video, audio. Send them along to Stephen.firstname.lastname@example.org.