Rhode Island EMA Urges Preparation for Severe Cold & Winter Storm

Friday, February 13, 2015


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The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for all of Rhode Island from Saturday afternoon, February 14, through Sunday evening, February 15. A Winter Storm Watch is issued for the potential accumulation of 6 or more inches of snow in a 12 hour period, or 8 or more inches of snow in a 24 hour period. Some areas of Rhode Island may receive up to a foot of snow.

Strong winds of 25-30 mph, with gusts up to 40 mph in some areas, are projected for the area Sunday afternoon and evening. The strong winds, combined with snow accumulations, could create blizzard-like conditions and reduce visibility. Those planning to travel in the next 24-36 hours should monitor later forecasts and be prepared to change travel plans. Power outages are also possible throughout the duration of this storm.

“We are New Englanders and we will continue to do everything we can to be prepared as more winter weather comes our way, but I urge you to please take caution on the roads this weekend,” Governor Gina Raimondo said. “We are expecting potentially dangerous conditions outside, and Rhode Islanders should stay inside and off the roads if possible. Please check on your neighbors and loved ones and make sure they have everything they need to stay safe and warm.”

“Rhode Islanders are urged to remain inside during periods of extreme cold,” said Peter Gaynor, Director of the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency. “If you must venture outside during periods of severe cold weather, dress for the conditions by limiting the exposure of bare skin to the cold. Wear proper hats and gloves, cover your face and neck, and dress in warm layers.”

Elevated Risk Of House Fires

House fires occur more frequently in the winter due to a lack of proper safety precautions when using alternate heating sources, such as unattended fires and space heaters. To prevent a fire from occurring this winter, consider the following precautionary tips:

• Place space heaters at least three feet away from anything combustible (i.e. wallpaper, bedding, clothing, etc.)
• Never leave space heaters operating when you are not in the room or when you go to bed. Do not leave children unattended near space heaters.
• Refrain from drying wet clothing over a space heater.
• Make sure smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are working properly and replace
batteries as necessary.
• Use a fireplace screen when burning fires and burn only wood. NEVER burn paper or plastic.

“Make sure that you have sufficient heating fuel as these next few days are going to be very cold,” said Director Gaynor. “If you experience a loss of your heating source and need emergency heating, contact your local municipalities or dial 2-1-1. For a power loss, call National Grid at 1-800-465-1212. For other emergencies, such as a house fire or an injury, dial 9-1-1.”


Related Slideshow: Top 10 Blizzards in RI History

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10. Blizzard of 2010

Max Accumulation: Approximately 13"

December 26-27, 2010

This winter storm brought more than a foot of snow to several parts of Rhode Island, including 13 inches in Woonsocket.

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9. Blizzard of 2003

Max Accumulation: Approximately 15"

February 14-19, 2013

Know as the President’s Day Storm II, this blizzard brought roughly 15 inches to Ocean State.

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8. Blizzard of 2009

Max Accumulation: Approximately 16"

December 16-20, 2009

Blizzard warnings were in effect in southern Rhode Island when this storm hit just before Christmas 2009.

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7. April Fool's Day Blizzard

Max Accumulation: Approximately 18"

March 30 to April 1, 1997

This blizzard was no joke when it dropped 18 inches of snow in Providence.

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6. 1969 Nor’easter

Max Accumulation: Approximately 20"

February 8-10, 1969

This storm blanketed many parts of Rhode Island with upwards of 20 inches of snow.

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5. Great Blizzard of 1888

Max Accumulation: Approximately 20"

March 11-14, 1888

One of the most severe recorded blizzards in the history of the United States, this superstorm dumped 20 inches in Kingston.

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4. Blizzard of 1996

Max Accumulation: Approximately 23"

Jan. 6-10, 1996

One of two blizzards to receive an “extreme” rating on the Northeast Snowfall Impact Scale, this storm blanketing parts of Rhode Island with upwards of 23 inches of snow.

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3. Blizzard of 2005

Max Accumulation: Approximately 23.5"

January 20-23, 2005

This three-day storm delivered more nearly two feet of snow to some parts of Rhode Island.

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2. Winter Storm Nemo

Max Accumulation: Approximately 24"

February 7-18, 2013

About 180,000 RI homes and businesses lost power during this powerful blizzard.

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1. Blizzard of 1978

Max Accumulation: Approximately 38"

February 5-7, 1978

This historic nor’easter, which claimed the lives of 26 Rhode Islanders, brought a record-breaking 27.6 inches of snow to Providence and 38 inches to Woonsocket.


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