Bomb Cyclone Could Hammer RI Friday and Saturday

Friday, March 02, 2018

 

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Flooding in RI in 2010

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Pick your name -- "bomb cyclone,"  "snow hurricane" or "bombogenesis" -- the names are all ominous and this storm may meet the hype. Snow, flooding and near hurricane winds are all expected to hit from Friday thru Saturday.

"Please take this storm seriously," the National Weather Service in Boston said in a statement. "For those living along the coast, this is a LIFE & DEATH situation."  On Thursday night, Rhode Island Emergency warned in a Tweet: 

"This is the storm barreling toward us. Rain will arrive tonight and become heavy by Friday morning. 1-3" likely. Sustained winds from 15-30mph, gusting to 45mph. The rain will mix and change to snow at times into Saturday. Expect 2-4" of wet heavy snow."

And Massachusetts shoreline is expected to be hit the hardest. All shorelines are at risk for moderate to major coastal flooding and severe erosion at some point during this storm. There is also real potential for significant structural damage along the coast. The strong wind gusts may cause tree damage and scattered power outages,” MA Governor Charlie Baker.

Expected to get hit the hardest in Rhode Island is the Pawtuxet River basin in Cranston and Warwick — the site of record floods in 2010.

 

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Power Outages

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National Grid is warning that this storm could cause major Current forecasts indicate the storm could cause damage to our electrical system, with the potential for a multi-day restoration effort.  The company says high winds along the New England coast could cause tree damage and possible power outages. Flooding along coastal areas is a concern and can cause interruptions in natural gas and/or electric service.            

“Our team has been tracking this storm all week and ramping up our preparations for a safe and efficient response to its impact,” said Tim Horan, president and COO of National Grid in Rhode Island. “We are also coordinating our efforts with state agencies and municipalities in the joint response, which will be critical to meeting the needs of our customers and communities.” National Grid is under investigation for their response to a storm in October.   

The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) opened a formal investigation into National Grid’s preparation and power restoration efforts after the windstorm on October 29, 2017.

Following the storm, the DPU directed Eversource Energy and National Grid to file Final Event Reports detailing their preparation and restoration efforts.

After a review of those reports, the DPU believes further investigation into the restoration performance of National Grid is warranted.

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National Weather: Flooding in 2010

Rhode Island already has a pending investigation. 

"On the electric side, the most recent analogous investigation was tropical storm Irene (2011). No fines were issued, but ...the Division ordered a number of restoration and resiliency actions to take place after a detailed study of the circumstances surrounding that event. As an aside, I believe Massachusetts has specific statutory language dealing with fines related to electrical outages. Rhode Island does not have a similar provision," said Thomas F. Kogut, the Chief of Information of the RI Division of Public Utilities and Carriers 

The Rhode Island investigation is expected to conclude in the next couple of months. Governor Gina Raimondo called for the inquiry in October of 2017.

For this storm, National Grid said that they began mobilizing additional crews and equipment resources early this week. "The company is continuously monitoring the storm, communicating with local officials, first responders and life support customers. In Rhode Island, more than 200 external crews will be prepared to supplement the company’s roughly 60 internal crews once conditions are safe to do so." 

The company warns:

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.

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.

Check on elderly family members, neighbors and others who may need assistance during an outage period.

Report power outages at nationalgridus.com/OutageCentral or call: 1-800-465-1212. Reminder: It’s not safe to work in an elevated bucket during periods of increased wind gusts. Our line workers begin restoration work only when conditions are deemed safe.

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National Weather: Flooding at Warwick Mall in 2010

 

Related Slideshow: 20 Ways to Prepare for a Hurricane in New England

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Put Together a Disaster Kit 

Put together a kit of supplies that you might need during the storm. 

The kit should include a supply of food and water, money, blankets, first-aid supplies, medications, toiletries, and batteries. 

Be sure to check expiration dates. 

For more on building a disaster kit, visit the Department of Homeland Security’s Ready.gov.

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Come Up With a Family Communications Plan

Geico Insurance suggests coming up with a family insurance plan.

Discuss with your family how to contact each other just in case you become separated during an emergency.

Also, talk about how to get in touch with relatives and friends to let them know you’re all right.

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Create an Evacuation Plan 

In the event that you have to leave your home, it is important to have an evacuation plan in advance. 

Identify a safe place, maybe the home of a friend or a family member or a hotel.

The destination doesn't have to be hours away, just out of danger.

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Have an Evacuation Drill

Hold an evacuation drill to practice in case of emergency.

See what everyone grabs and what gets forgotten. Then make a list and try again at a later date. 

“Some people will actually test the evacuation route in good weather. Waiting until the day of the hurricane isn’t a smart idea since everyone will be in a heightened state of anxiety," said AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski.

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Make a Plan for The Kids 

How will your child stay entertained during an emergency or a blackout? 

Geico suggests packing some games and toys, as well as, snacks for the kids to keep them entertained during the storm. 

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Don't Forget About Pets 

Do you have a dog that needs kibble or a cat that needs insulin?

If your dog typically goes to the bathroom outside, you may need to come up with an alternate plan during the storm. 

Extra food, toys, and other pet accessories should also be figured into the game plan. 

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Clean Up the Yard

Find a place to put lawn furniture and other outdoor items, which can get dangerous in high winds.

Trim any loose or dangling tree branches near your house. 

"Make sure you're not creating missiles by leaving things lying around in your yard," Rochman said. Any items that can be picked up by strong winds -- your grill, lawn furniture, garden gnomes and other items -- should be stored indoors or secured to the ground," said Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety CEO Julie Rochman. 

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Seal Windows & Doors

Make sure that windows and doors are sealed.

Rochman reminds residents that "normal weather can damage seals over time, allowing sideways-blowing rain to get in during a storm."

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Back Up Computer Data 

Director of the National Hurricane Center Rick Knabb encourages people to back up computer data at an off-site location. 

That way in case something happens to the computer during a storm, the data can be recovered. 

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Make Sure Carports and Porches are Secure

In case of high winds, make sure the posts supporting your porch, carport or other structures attached to your house are secured to the ground.

"If you've got a porch or carport on your house and you think it looks like a wing, that's what it's going to be. It will tear a hole in your house," said Rochman. 

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Take Inventory of Your Possessions 

Photograph and document your possessions using as much detail as possible.

Doing this will speed up the claim-filing process later on, should you need to do it. 

The I.I.I. (Insurance Information Institute) offers the Know Your Stuff Home Inventory app that can help you keep an up-to-date digital record of your possessions.

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Seal and Secure Your Roof

Inspect your roof covering to make sure all the shingles or tiles are secured and that there are no cracks or any missing.

If you're re-roofing, you might want to consider putting waterproof tape over the roof's seams or covering the whole thing. 

“Any possible compromises to the roof or house will become an open avenue for strong and gusty winds,” Kottlowski said.

He adds that residents should purchase supplies, including plywood to cover windows and extra security to keep doors from blowing open, in advance, to secure their homes from damaging winds.

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Learn How to Shut Off Utilities at Your Home

Food, Water, and Survival suggest learning about the utilities in your home and how to turn them off and on. 

Some natural disasters could result in broken utility lines or it is unsafe to have the utilities running.

Knowing how to shut them off can keep a disaster from becoming a bigger disaster.
 


 

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Don't Forget About Little Things 

Sometimes the little things can make a big difference so it is important not to forget them. Geico reminds residents to not forget about the little things. 

For example, contact lenses, are electronics charged as much as possible in case the power goes out etc... 

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Make Copies

According to Geico, you should photocopy and scan your inventory, disaster plan, contact information, birth certificate, passport and other important documents that you might have.

After you make copies, seal them in a waterproof container along with your disaster kit.

Food, Water, and Survival suggest starting with this list. 

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Go Over Your Insurance Policy

Is your homeowners or renters insurance up-to-date?

Make sure your policy should be designed to meet your needs.

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Determine if Flood Insurance is Needed 

If you own a property in a flood hazard area and have a mortgage, federal law say you must have flood insurance.

Even if it’s not a requirement in your area, your home may still be at risk.

“People might think that if they don’t live on the coast, then they won’t have a flooding problem. But if it can rain, it can flood," said Knabb. 

Determine if you need flood insurance before it is too late. 

For more information on flood insurance, click here. 

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Invest in a Generator 

If the power is going to be off for an extended period of time, a generator can be used to give power to important utilities like a refrigerator. 

Generators at Home Depot can range anywhere from $170 to just over $600.

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Follow John Ghiorse 

Follow GoLocalProv's John Ghiorse for the latest storm updates. 

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Determine Your Risk 

The majority of a hurricane's force usually hits coastal areas the hardest, but its effects can reach inland as well in the form of knocked down trees, power outages and flooding. 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Interactive Flood Information Map can help you identify different flooding risks in your community. 

 
 

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