Storm Updates – Sunday, Oct. 28
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10:35 p.m. – This will be our final update for the night, folks! Thanks for following along today, and hopefully – knock on wood – we’ll have enough power to update frequently tomorrow.
Speaking of that! We will update as much as the power situation allows, starting shortly before 6 a.m. Last year with Hurricane Irene, I lost power about three or fours hour in, and didn’t get it back until a day later. If and when my power does go out, the updates will be a bit more sporadic.
There will also be a live chat for those of you who want to follow along on your PC, Mac or smartphone, similar to last year. Keep your eyes peeled for that panel.
Because of the impending storm and the very great chance of everyone losing power, we will not be sticking to our usual production schedule of seven to 10 stories per day. If I don’t lose power, we’ll be back to that schedule on Tuesday, otherwise, it’ll be back once power is restored.
And finally – We would love to run your photos of the storm’s effect, but please, ONLY take pictures if you can do so safely! You can share them with us via e-mail – Stephen.firstname.lastname@example.org or Narragansett@patch.com – and there will also be an option to upload directly to the story tomorrow.
7:50 p.m. – The Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency announces that the following emergency shelters will be available to Rhode Islanders who may need to leave their home:
- Barrington; Primrose High School; opens at 7 p.m., Sunday
- Coventry; Coventry High School; opens a 4 p.m., Sunday
- Cumberland; Cumberland High School; opens at 7 p.m., Sunday
- Jamestown; Melrose Elementary School; opens at 7 p.m., Sunday
- Middletown; Gaudet Middle School; opens at 7 p.m., Sunday
- Tiverton; Tiverton Middle School; opens at 7 p.m., Sunday
- Wakefield; South Kingstown High School; opens at 7 p.m., Sunday
- Warwick; Veteran’s Memorial High School; opens at 7 p.m., Sunday
- Warwick; (pets only); Thayer Ice Arena; opens at 7 p.m., Sunday
- Wood River Junction; Chariho High & Middle School; opens at 7 p.m., Sunday
The Department of Health offers tips for food storage in a power outage here.
5:20 p.m. – URI has officially cancelled Monday classes.
4:40 p.m. – The Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority has issued a press release – Unsurprisingly, their office will be closed tomorrow for all E-Z Pass transactions and issues.
Like the state police earlier warned, they also said that state bridges are subject to closure once certain wind thresholds are hit.
National Grid has issued a press release warning that all areas should expect extended power outages starting Monday morning. They’ve also released a video on YouTube about how power is restored after a storm.
The list of school closings and cancellations still doesn’t have The Prout School, Bishop Hendricken or the University of Rhode Island. However, it’s probably just a matter of time before all three are added. It also seems likely that all non-emergency state workers will be home as well.
2:57 p.m. – Some other miscellaneous information to pass along:
- For South Kingstown emergency official numbers, click here.
- For Narragansett emergency official numbers, click here.
- For information from National Grid, click here.
- According to federal officials, preparing time is over for the storm.
- Barrington Patch has an article suggesting that while the storm will be bad, Rhode Island will probably miss the full brunt of the hurricane.
2:45 p.m. – South Kingstown is ordering a mandatory evacuation for certain areas. See the attached PDF for a complete list, along with the goods you should bring along with you.
Narragansett has also ordered evacuations, however, the link on their emergency management page wasn’t working as of 2:40 p.m. As a result, we’ve instead attached the flood evacuation map used for Hurricane Irene – Since that was only about 14 months ago, I’m assuming the evacuation zone is similar.
2:27 p.m. – It’s now official: Narragansett has closed schools Monday as well. The Bradley School in Wakefield is also closed. I haven’t heard anything about Prout or Hendricken yet, or URI.
12:47 p.m. – It has just come across the emergency alert wire: South Kingstown public schools are cancelled.
12:28 p.m. – Governor Chafee confirms that he has declared a state of emergency today, and he will be on a conference call with other governors and President Obama later today.
He said a decision on canceling schools, work and evacuating will be left to individual communities, after he had a conference call with town managers and mayors. He said a decision whether to cancel the day for state workers will be made later today by his office.
According to Kevin McBride of the Rhode Island National Guard, already there are 2,100 National Grid employees stationed and on-call in anticipation of power outages. About 200 National Guard members are also available.
Senator Jack Reed says a FEMA response team is already on the ground in Rhode Island. He said the Congressional delegation – himself, Sheldon Whitehouse, Jim Langevin and David Cicilline – secured support from the federal government via letter two days ago.
Pretty much everyone speaking is stressing one thing – It’ll be the duration of the storm, as opposed to the intensity, that will be the problem.
McBride specifically cites that the surge will be worst from about 9 a.m. Monday to 12 hours later, coinciding with high tide, but the winds will still be an issue even after that point.
According to the state police, there is a strong chance that the Pell Bridge, Jamestown and Mt. Hope bridges will be closed as of 6 a.m. Monday. They’re closed at specific wind speeds, around 65 miles per hour, for commercial vehicles.
Rhode Island State Police Colonel Steven G. O’Donnell warned people NOT to be thrill seekers, and to stay home as opposed to trying to see the waves. He mentioned that in a past storm in the 1950s, a trooper died, and he wants to avoid a similar circumstance today.
RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis said they have crews stationed at what they anticipate to be trouble spots, and they’ve done their best to clean out storm drains and other locations. He said that in a change from Hurricane Irene, they have direct communication with National Grid.
Locally, both Narragansett and South Kingstown are using the South Kingstown High School as an evacuation site. A secondary site is available at Broad Rock Middle School.
11:45 a.m. – Instead of publishing 15 local articles today and tomorrow, instead, we’re just going to give you one page to follow, for simplicity’s sake. Any other Hurricane Sandy articles you might see are regional ones, like this one.
Right now, there is a coastal flood warning in effect for Washington (South) County from 6 a.m. Monday to 1 p.m. Tuesday. The worst of the flooding will be Monday evening, to coincidence with high tide. Major flooding is possible in vulnerable areas.
The National Weather Service has issued a high wind warning from 6 a.m. Monday to 6 a.m. Tuesday. Steady winds of 35 to 45 miles per hour are expected, with gusts up to 70 miles per hour. Downed trees and power lines are expected.
The Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency is hosting a press conference about the state’s storm efforts at noon in Cranston. At the conference will be RIEMA officials, Governor Lincoln Chafee, state police and RIDOT officials.
Although I haven’t gotten anything official from the news networks, there is a good chance Channel 6, 10 or 12 will go live at noon as a result.
In other news: The Rhode Island Department of Health urges those with special healthcare needs to enroll in the Rhode Island Special Needs Emergency Registry in advance of Hurricane Sandy.
Enrolling in the Registry does not guarantee assistance, but it does allow local and state emergency officials to plan for, respond to, and care for Rhode Islanders with disabilities, chronic conditions, and other special healthcare needs in an emergency such as a hurricane.
The American Red Cross reminds people that they should have basic supplies for at least three days, along with a First Aid kit, non-perishable food, water for drinking and preparing food, and a flashlight, a radio and batteries.
If you’re asked to evacuate, brings pillows, some minor bedding items, toiletries, a change of clothes and any prescriptions you need.
And finally, as far as school closings go – Coventry High School has canceled classes Monday, as has the Rocky Hill School in East Greenwich. Channel 12’s list is available here.
Local school officials – URI, South Kingstown and Narragansett – said they would notify families whether school is canceled via the normal means. (And as a warning note: There is a good chance that at the noon press conference, Chafee could make the whole issue moot with an executive order.)
- Preparing for a Hurricane: 5 Things to Do, Just in Case
- South Kingstown Everbridge notification system
- Narragansett Everbridge notification system
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