Gov. Lincoln Chafee has declared a state of emergency today, and he will be on a conference call with other governors and President Obama later today.
He said a decision on canceling schools, work and evacuating will be left to individual communities, after he had a conference call with town managers and mayors. He said a decision whether to cancel the day for state workers will be made later today by his office.
According to Kevin McBride of the Rhode Island National Guard, already there are 2,100 National Grid employees stationed and on-call in anticipation of power outages. About 200 National Guard members are also available.
Senator Jack Reed says a FEMA response team is already on the ground in Rhode Island. He said the Congressional delegation – himself, Sheldon Whitehouse, Jim Langevin and David Cicilline – secured support from the federal government via letter two days ago.
Pretty much everyone speaking is stressing one thing – It’ll be the duration of the storm, as opposed to the intensity, that will be the problem.
McBride specifically cites that the surge will be worst from about 9 a.m. Monday to 12 hours later, coinciding with high tide, but the winds will still be an issue even after that point.
According to the state police, there is a strong chance that the Pell Bridge, Jamestown and Mt. Hope bridges will be closed as of 6 a.m. Monday. They’re closed at specific wind speeds, around 65 miles per hour, for commercial vehicles.
Rhode Island State Police Colonel Steven G. O’Donnell warned people NOT to be thrill seekers, and to stay home as opposed to trying to see the waves. He mentioned that in a past storm in the 1950s, a trooper died, and he wants to avoid a similar circumstance today.
RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis said they have crews stationed at what they anticipate to be trouble spots, and they’ve done their best to clean out storm drains and other locations. He said that in a change from Hurricane Irene, they have direct communication with National Grid.
Sunday 9 a.m. - The latest forecasts show Hurricane Sandy hitting before the morning commute tomorrow, with high wind and flood watches in effect throughout Rhode island from Monday morning through the night.
The National Weather Service also issued the warnings for Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire.
Boston meteorologist Jeremy Reiner said the worst of Sandy should be from 9 a.m. Monday until 2 a.m. Tuesday. "Within this period is our greatest risk of wind damage/power loss," Reiner wrote on his blog, noting that many towns will experience wind gusts over 40 miles per hour. Coastal cities and towns may see wind gusts between 50-60 mph and even some wind gusts near 70mph out on the Cape and Islands.
Reiner said the speed of the wind isn't as great a concern as the duration of the wind, expected to last over several hours and bring down trees and power lines.
Rainfall looks manageable, Reiner said, with most towns looking to pick up 1 to 3 inches of rain through tomorrow night.
For more updates on the local impacts of Hurricane Sandy, return to Patch.