Rhode Island Gears Up for First Major Winter Storm of the Season

As Rhode Island anticipates the arrival of the first significant winter storm of the season scheduled to hit the state this weekend, Governor Dan McKee provided an overview of the measures implemented by his Administration to ensure that the state is adequately prepared to confront the upcoming weather challenges.

A winter storm watch is currently in effect, spanning from Saturday afternoon through Sunday night. Meteorological projections indicate that light snow is set to commence between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Saturday, reaching its peak intensity between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Sunday. Anticipated snowfall totals vary across different sections of Rhode Island, ranging from 1 to 10 inches.

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) is taking proactive measures to address road conditions. Crews will report for duty three to four hours ahead of the expected storm start time to pre-treat roads. With an increased fleet of over 425 plows, RIDOT is bolstering its resources compared to previous winter seasons. The department is fully stocked with an impressive 65,000 tons of salt, and additional tow trucks will be on standby to swiftly clear any disabled vehicles, particularly in the Washington Bridge bypass lanes.

The Office of Energy Resources is actively engaged with Rhode Island Energy (RIE) and the state’s delivered fuel terminals to closely monitor the storm’s impact on power and fuel supplies. RIE is reinforcing its workforce with 65 external line crews, supplementing the existing 50 internal line crews to expedite power restoration efforts. In preparation for potential fallen trees and vegetation, RIE is mobilizing 60 forestry management teams. The storm room will open on Saturday, and Bally’s in Lincoln will serve as a staging site, given the forecasted significant snowfall in Northern Rhode Island.

The Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency (RIEMA) is in constant communication with municipal leaders and local emergency management agencies to ensure communities have the necessary support in place. RIEMA will coordinate situational updates to state government, municipalities, and other partners throughout the weekend. A comprehensive list of local warming centers can be accessed on RIEMA’s website.

In response to potential emergencies, the Department of Housing has unveiled locations of emergency pop-up shelters, supplementing the existing state shelter network. Open to Rhode Islanders in need, these emergency shelters are strategically positioned across the state.

Rhode Island State Police are fully staffed, with troopers on standby to assist motorists and provide support where needed. As the storm approaches, residents are urged to follow safety tips for driving during winter weather conditions, including checking vehicle conditions, avoiding unnecessary travel during heavy snowfall, removing snow from vehicles, planning extra travel time, reducing speed, maintaining sufficient stopping distance, avoiding distractions, refraining from crowding plows, and being aware of potential parking bans.

As Rhode Island prepares for the winter storm, residents are encouraged to stay informed and take necessary precautions for a safe weekend.




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