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  • Weather Service Warns of Coastal Flooding, High Winds as Storm Approaches

    [CREDIT: NWS] The National Weather Service has issued a number of warnings of wind and flooding for the next two days.

    [CREDIT: NWS] The National Weather Service has issued a number of warnings of wind and flooding for the next two days.

    [National Grid] National Grid reports there are 30,614 people without power in Kent County, 10,000 of them in Warwick.

    [National Grid] National Grid reports there are 30,614 people without power in Kent County, 10,000 of them in Warwick.

    UPDATE: Saturday March 3, 1 P.M. – Some homes without power may not see power restored for another 72 hours, according to a National Grid Spokesman, who noted the number of Warwick customers without power had dropped to 4,300 at 1 p.m. Saturday.

    The number was 1,576 fewer than National Grid had reported in Warwick as of 9:30 a.m.

    “We’re looking at what we call a tier three event,” said Tim Rondeau, spokesman for National Grid, who said the storm has uprooted trees and downed power lines Westerly to Woonsocket. About 104,000 homes in the state were without power, he said, down from 149,000 Friday evening.

    “They are making some great progress,” Rondeau said of the 300 line crews responding to fix downed power lines. However, he said, high-speed wind gusts lingering from the storm are limiting their ability to send workers up in bucket trucks to work on the numerous problems.

    In light of the lingering power outages throughout the city and the state, the RI Emergency Management Agency advises residents that refrigerators will keep food cold if you don’t open the door. If you do, food can go bad in as little as 2 hours.

    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.

    UPDATE: Saturday March 3, 10:15 A.M. – Trees were reported fallen on Lima Street, Elwin Street, and Merle Street on social media, and the Starbucks and Dave’s Marketplace on Airport Road were both reported closed due to power outages, according to reports from residents.

    According to Dave’s Marketplace’s Facebook page, the company’s East Greenwich and Cranston locations nearby Hoxie are open.

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    UPDATE: Saturday March 3, 9:30 A.M. – National Grid reports the number of customers without power in Warwick has been roughly halved overnight, dropping to just 5,876, with no reported estimate on restoration of service.

    Statewide, about 116,298 National Grid customers are without power this morning, including 21,155 in Kent County. National Grid estimates the following outage counts in communities neighboring Warwick as of 9:30 a.m.:

    East Greenwich -3,469

    West Warwick – 5,088

    Coventry -5,523

    West Greenwich -1,199

    UPDATE: 7:30 P.M. Tonight, around 8 p.m., the rain will turn to snow, according to the RI Emergency Management Agency.

    The NWS is expecting 1-3″ of wet, heavy snow, which could cause tree limbs to break and more power outages. Make sure your phone is fully charged, RIEMA advises.

    UPDATE: 7 P.M. At 7 p.m. Friday National Grid reported there were 143,483 Rhode Islanders without power, 30,000 of them in Kent County, with about 10,000 without power in Warwick.

    National Grid estimated power would be restored in Warwick by 7:45 p.m., according to the utility’s website.

    Power outages for the rest of Kent County as of 7 p.m.:

    East Greenwich – 5,470

    West Warwick – 5,942

    Coventry – 7,856

    West Greenwich – 1,236

    National Grid reported at 4 p.m. that it has deployed about 300 line crews to restore power in the areas where it is safe to do so.

    “Weather forecasters are calling for significant rainfall and heavy winds extending into the mainland with winds of up to 40-50mph. The storm is also calling for the potential of heavy, wet snow and flooding is a major concern. We remind customers to keep safety a top priority. Customers should keep away from downed power lines, and report them directly to National Grid or to your local authorities,” National Grid stated.

    In a 4 p.m. automated call to residents, Mayor Scott Avedisian reported bout 4,000 Warwick households were without power at that time, and provided the number for National Grid for residents to report outages: 800-465-1212.

    Also, Avedisian noted the potential for continued rain and snow may cause flooding in the area of Pioneer Avenue, Bellows Street, Venturi Avenue, and River Street near Pawtuxet Industrial Park.

    The mayor said that the Pawtuxet River is expected to crest Saturday night into Sunday morning, and instructed residents to call the Warwick Department of Public Works at (401) 921-9619 to report downed trees or limbs.

    Emergency Alerts:

    RIBA – Make sure you’re signed up for text alerts from the Rhode Island Broadcasters Association. You’ll get emergency notifications (including school closings and delays) direct to your phone or email.

    CodeRED – The City of Warwick has instituted a new rapid emergency notification service called CodeRED®.  The new system will distribute emergency messages via telephone to targeted areas or the entire City of Warwick. Register here.

    TF Green Airport – As of 8:40 a.m., two 10 a.m. outbound flights to Newark have been cancelled. Click here to follow arrivals and departures at Green.

    Emergency Calls:

    • In an emergency, dial 911
    • Police Department: 401-468-4200
    • Fire Department: (401) 468-4000
    • Highway Dept./Snow removal – 401-738-2000 ext. 6518
    • Do NOT call 911 to report a power outage. Contact National Grid at 1-800-465-1212. Smartphone users can also text STORM to NGRID (64743) for outage alerts. To check the status of outages in your area, visit  National Grid Outage Central for Rhode Island.
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    Listen to NOAA radio: Check the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration radio frequency here.

    March 1, 10:46 p.m.: WARWICK — The National Weather Service has issued a coastal flood advisory, flood watch and high wind warning for Warwick and the region starting Friday morning as a Noreaster approaches the state, cautioning against flood-prone roads and basements

    The coastal flood warning is in effect from 7 a.m. Friday through 11 p.m. Saturday along the Rhode Island and Massachusetts south coast. The flood watch is in effect from 7 a.m. Friday through 11 p.m. Saturday, and the High Wind Warning is in effect from 10 a.m. Friday through 10 a.m. Saturday

    NWS officials expect minor coastal flooding of the most vulnerable shore roads and/or basements due to the height of storm tide or wave splash-over. The majority of roads are expected to remain passable with only isolated closures.

    Rain is forecast to begin after midnight Thursday with winds at 10 to 17 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph. Heavy rain is expected to continue through Friday, with between 1 and 2 inches of rainfall possible.

    Rain will continue through Friday night, with patchy fog before 8 a.m., with a chance of snow between 2 a.m. and 8 a.m.  Winds will continue to blow at 20 to 22 mph, with gusts as high as 43 mph.

    National Grid announced its crews and personnel are prepared for the storm, and offered a number of safety tips for people to follow in the event of a power outage.

    Tips for Preparing for the Storm:

    • Power problems can sometimes interrupt public water supply systems or disable well pumps, so it’s an especially good idea to keep a supply of bottled drinking water handy, as well as some canned food.
    • People who depend on electric-powered life support equipment, such as a respirator, should let National Grid know. To register as a life support customer, call the company’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-322-3223.

    Stay Connected

    • It is a good idea to ensure all mobile devices in your home are fully charged prior to the storm.
    • Receive statewide text message alerts and updates when you text the word STORM to NGRID (64743).
    • Use your mobile device to track outage information, report outages, view outage maps and storm-related safety tips through National Grid’s mobile site accessible at: ngrid.com/mobile.
    • Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram, where we post all the latest storm and restoration updates.

    Safety Tips:

    • 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.
    • Natural gas customers should closely inspect areas around and over gas meters, service hook-ups and vents for ice and snow that could damage equipment or prevent CO from properly venting.
    • 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 numbers at 1-800-640-1595
      • Stay Out – Do not return to your home until National Grid tells you it is safe.

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