South Kingstown officials have accelerated their mandatory evacuations of low-lying and coastal areas in advance of a dangerous Hurricane Irene this afternoon, which is expected to make landfall near Rhode Island some time Sunday.
The Union and Kingston Fire Districts of South Kingstown distributed flyers Friday afternoon to residents within the evacuation area, and on Saturday morning the South Kingstown Police moved their deadline for evacuations up to 6:00 a.m. instead of the normal 10:00 a.m. timeline.
"Due to current storm tracking and projected storm surge impact on low lying roadways, these roads may become impassable, including the lower portions of Matunuck Beach Road, Green Hill Beach Road, Charlestown Beach Road, Middlebridge Road, and Succotash Road," said South Kingstown Police Captain Jeff Allen in a release issued Saturday morning. "The morning high tide is forecast for 7:36am."
The South Kingstown High School on Columbia Street will serve as the town's primary emergency shelter for those in need. All non-emergency related questions should be directed to the Police Department at 401-783-3321.
One of the most significant threats of Irene, even without a direct impact, will be the potential for coastal flooding due to a possibly large storm surge, coupled with massive waves and an astronomical high tide scheduled for around 7:30 p.m. Sunday evening.
At Saturday's meeting of the Union and Kingston Fire Districts, UFD Deputy Chief Richard Collinson said that the South Kingstown Police will be setting up some form of police checkpoint at 13 different locations as early as this afternoon. Collinson stressed that those choosing to remain inside the evacuation areas cannot count on emergency response during the height of the storm.
Looking at the detailed map of the town’s emergency evacuation procedures, residents that have property outlined in yellow should consider moving to higher ground during the height of the storm, likely Sunday afternoon into Monday morning according to weather officials. The areas marked in yellow have been deemed prone to minor storm flooding, meaning they are most susceptible according to the Union Fire District's Deputy Chief Richard Collinson. If evacuation notices are issued, these areas will be the first to be notified by the town's Police and Fire departments.
The South Kingstown Patch has provided a detailed map within this article of evacuation routes and areas that will be evacuated first. The primary evacuation routes include Route 1, Ministerial Road, and Kingstown Road (Route 138).
Areas most prone to Hurricane flooding:
-Coastal regions of Matunuck, Green Hill, East Matunuck, Snug Harbor, and Jerusalem
-Properties abutting Green Hill Pond, Trustom Pond, Cards Pond, and Potters Pond
-Properties abutting Point Judith Pond
-Properties Abutting the Narrow River
In addition, firefighters and town officials will be addressing those who live in the areas shaded in pink on the provided map as well. Many of these areas abut those zones already marked in yellow, and include properties north of Matunuck Schoolhouse Road, off the Narrow River in Middlebridge, properties near the entirety of Succotash Road to the highway, and the Pond Street area.
Extreme rainfall totals may also cause flooding of low-lying areas in Wakefield, Peace Dale, and West Kingston as well, so those susceptible to flood-like conditions should prepare for water as well as wind.