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Mandatory Evacuations Moved Up To 6AM Sunday

Hurricane warning in effect for coastal Rhode Island as town's low-lying areas are to be evacuated by 6:00 a.m. Sunday.

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.

Robert Trager August 26, 2011 at 12:31 AM
Of course, the use of the word mandatory is a misnomer. No one can force you from your home. However, I do think it would be a wise choice.
Ted Geisel August 26, 2011 at 05:31 PM
I agree with you Robert but RI General Laws say otherwise. RIGL 30-15-9 gives the Govenor a lot of power during emergencies. Including the power to " (5) Direct and compel the evacuation of all or part of the population from any stricken or threatened area within the state if the governor deems this action necessary for the preservation of life or other disaster mitigation, response, or recovery; " Penalties for violating 30-15 include "Any person violating any provisions of this chapter or any rule, order, or regulation promulgated pursuant to this chapter shall upon conviction thereof be punishable by a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500) or imprisonment for not exceeding ninety (90) days, or both. "
Ted Geisel August 26, 2011 at 05:38 PM
Another intersting tidbit of RI law is that all able bodied males between 18-45 are part of the unorganized RI Militia. See RIGL 30-1-2. So "(d) During the continuance of any state of disaster emergency the governor is commander-in-chief of the organized and unorganized militia and of all other forces available for emergency duty. To the greatest extent practicable, the governor shall delegate or assign command authority by prior arrangement embodied in appropriate executive orders or regulations, but nothing herein restricts the governor's authority to do so by orders issued at the time of the disaster emergency. " (RIGL 30-15-9) Do you really want to be court martialed? It probably won't happen but stranger things have happened in this backwards state.
Marylou Butler August 26, 2011 at 06:48 PM
Please remember that you are not only putting yourself at risk if you choose not to evacuate. You are also risking the lives of firefighters, EMS and police who may have to rescue you.
Kathy DiPina August 26, 2011 at 10:24 PM
I'm with Mr. Trager on not forcing people to evacuate and agree with Sean that this is a backwards state. As far as risking lives, I think that those people wouldn't be in those positions if not for the thrill or the reward..or both. Thanks in advance to all of those who will be helping our elderly and indigent during this storm and best wishes that we all come out ok.
Jacob Hwabyong August 26, 2011 at 11:20 PM
All sources I've seen today seem to indicate that South Kingstown is using the word mandatory to mean something in the neighborhood of "you'd better do it or you'll be on your own." In other words, the South Kingstown police will not be dragging people from their homes. Given the historical pig-headedness of the swamp yankees, strong words seem appropriate; the approach might even save some lives. And if some die-hard libertarian types refuse to leave, hopefully their civil rights will remain intact even if their homes and bodies do not. Rhode Island is still America after all and we tend to put heavy stock in our liberty. What's curious is that this authoritative stance from the town governments comes in the wake of the Nat'l Weather Service downgrading the storm again. I get the feeling their's a mob mentality of over-preparedness going on amongst the town council and police folks.
Robert Trager August 27, 2011 at 01:45 AM
I fully intended to evacuate to my in-laws's house which is 200 ft above sea level, until they were told to evacuate! My father-in-law told the police officer that he was 200 ft above sea level and the response was, "I'm just doing what I'm told". This is a classic case of CMA.
Beth August 27, 2011 at 11:43 AM
I thought the leaflet the UFD gave out yesterday was very well written. It states "WARNING: Hurricane Irene is a large and dangerous storm with severe flooding conditions expected due to a projected storm surge. People must understand that until the storm is over emergency services will not be available to people who fail to evacuate." From what I understand the surge is the reason that whether it is a 3 or a 1 that we on the coast especially could be in danger. I was not going to leave, not to be stubborn and certainly not for a thrill, but we lost so much during the last flood I wanted to be home to get the pump going if need be and get the water out. However seeing the UFD knocking on doors and handing out these papers was a real eye opener. Things can be replaced, people cannot. So I am putting faith in my local goverment and heeding their warning. I hope everyone stays safe and we don't get it as badly as expected.
Layne Brown Townsend August 27, 2011 at 03:58 PM
I guess living on Middlebridge Rd for many years and my family going through many hurricanes, sometimes we feel that the evacuation is sinceless We do not however live on the rivers edge, we live on the opposite side of the road. We have never had flooding due to the river....run off from the woody hills during the "flood". I'm more worried about the huge old tree that we asked the town to cut down and they said..."we don't like to cut down old trees" even though the one that came down next to it was hollow in the middle....I can tell you that if tree falls and causes damage we will take action against the town for not taking it down.
Heather Short Tombs August 27, 2011 at 04:04 PM
If they "Over" prepare everyone complains... If they "Under" prepare everyone complains... Both of which are not determined until after the storm passes... I am very happy not to be in their shoes!!!
clyde sukeforth August 27, 2011 at 07:21 PM
Very unscientifically done (selection criteria poor) and with very bad execution from a "PR" standpoint. Invites the too frequent distrust of government. But maybe they deserve it.

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