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Officials Urge Caution, Discourage Travel as Nor’easter Snowfall Begins

[RIDOT] A traffic-camera view of Rte. 95 north past Exit 15 near Jefferson Boulevard in Warwick.
[RIDOT] A traffic-camera view of Rte. 95 north past Exit 15 near Jefferson Boulevard in Warwick.
WARWICK — The third nor’easter in as many weeks, expected to coat the area in as much as 19 inches in some places, is under way, and officials warn people to stay clear of the roads if possible, and to exercise extra caution if they do have to travel.

The RI Department of Transportation warned travel will be very difficult with snow-covered roadways and low visibility. If you have to travel, the agency advises, reduce your speed, avoid distraction and do not pass plow trucks.

A tractor-trailer travel ban is in effect until 4 p.m. today.

The RI Emergency Management Agency reported on their Twitter feed that snow is expected to be much drier than last week’s storm. “Therefore, we are not expecting widespread power outages. Even so, should you lose power, don’t assume it will just come back on. Call at 1(800) 465-1212.”

Additional notes of caution for travelers:

  • Assume all power lines are live. Don’t touch it, don’t drive over it. Report it.
  • If you have to be out, be aware of our plows and please don’t pass them.

Weather spotters for the National Weather Service reported the following early snowfall totals within Kent County:

West Greenwich: 4.5 inches at  7:06 a.m.

West Warwick:    2.0 inches at 6:05 a.m.

Coventry:              1.0 inches at 5:36 a.m.

In Warwick, City officials have cancelled all city and school services for the day, and many private schools, including Bishop Hendricken High School, are closed for the day as well.


The American Red Cross also has several tips for people experiencing prolonged power outages:

Staying Safe Indoors

  • Use flash lights in the dark, not candles.
  • Eliminate unnecessary travel, especially by car. Traffic lights will be out and roads will be congested.
  • If you are using a generator be sure you understand the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning and how to use generators safely.

Food Safety

  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. An unopened refrigerator will keep foods cold for about 4 hours. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed.

First use perishable food from the refrigerator. Perishables should have a temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius) or below to be safe to eat. Then use food from the freezer.

Use your non-perishable foods and staples after using food from the refrigerator and freezer.

  • If it looks like the power outage will continue beyond a day, prepare a cooler with ice for your freezer items.
  • Keep food in a dry, cool spot and keep it covered at all times.

Electrical Equipment

  • Turn off and unplug all unnecessary electrical equipment, including sensitive electronics.
  • Turn off or disconnect any appliances (like stoves), equipment or electronics you were using when the power went out. When power comes back on, surges or spikes can damage equipment.
  • Leave one light turned on so you’ll know when the power comes back on.

National Grid offers the following storm safety tips in advance of the second part of the second nor’easter of the week:

Keep Safety a Priority

We urge customers to watch out for their own wellbeing and the safety of utility crews working during the storm. Here are some tips to help keep everyone safe:

  • Never touch downed power lines, and always assume that any fallen lines are live electric wires. If you see one, report it immediately to National Grid or your local emergency response organization.
  • If you use a generator to supply power during an outage, be sure to operate it outdoors. Before operating generators, disconnect from National Grid’s system by shutting off the main breaker located in the electric service panel. Failure to do this could jeopardize the safety of line crews and the public

If you suspect a natural gas leak:

  • Get Out – All occupants should leave the house immediately. Do not use the telephone or light switches for any reason.
  • Call Us – After leaving the house and reaching a safe environment, call the National Grid 24-hour gas emergency number for RI: 1-800-640-1595
  • Stay Out – Do not return to your home until National Grid tells you it is safe.Stay Connected:It is a good idea to ensure your mobile devices and laptops are charged prior to a storm so that you can stay connected.
  • To receive text message alerts and updates from National Grid, text the word STORM to NGRID (64743).
  • Use your mobile device to track outage information and storm-related safety tips through National Grid’s mobile site accessible at
  • Other ways to stay in touch: Follow us on Twitter or Facebook and Instagram; we post all the latest storm and restoration updates.

Rob Borkowski
Author: Rob Borkowski

Rob has worked as reporter and editor for several publications, including The Kent County Daily Times and Coventry Courier, before working for Gatehouse in MA then moving home with Patch Media. Now he's publisher and editor of Contact him at [email protected] with tips, press releases, advertising inquiries, and concerns.

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