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NEW: Chafee issues state of emergency: “Now is the time to hunker down”

Friday, February 08, 2013


Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee is urging all of the state’s residents to take “extreme caution” in dealing with today’s storm and has issued a state of emergency for the state while repeating the message to “keep the roads clear” in a press conference moments ago at the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency’s offices in Cranston.

In a 12-minute speech aired statewide, Chafee said the state is ready to handle its roads, with many already being pre-treated ahead of the first snowfall, and that he’s coordinated with National Grid to anticipate the company’s response to any and all power outages.

“I know many Rhode Islanders have been out to the markets,” Chafee said. “So I know rhode islanders are getting well-prepared for this event.”

Michael Lewis, the director of the Rhode Island Department of Transportation, says crews have been pre-treating roads since 5 a.m. and that, even with the advance planning, travel will still be difficult during the height of the storm.

“There will be times with the intensity of the storm when the snow will get ahead of the plows,” he said. “The big message is stay off of the roads. This is a time to really take this serious. This isn’t the time to be out joyriding or sightseeing. You should only be on the road if you absolutely need to be.”

Winds are expected to reach over 60 miles per hour later today and the state will be monitoring health care facilities around Rhode Island “every couple of hours” to ensure that the facilities still have power or have working generators.

“We’ve been through a number of storms recently and there’s been a lot of hype about this storm, which is good,” Chafee said. “Good luck, Rhode Islanders and take extra caution.”


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