Rhode Island’s schools and businesses — including Providence Public Schools and the Rhode Island Public Transportation Authority — announced closings last night in response to a blizzard warning issued for the state by the National Weather Service.
State residents should expect between 18 and 24 inches of snow over the weekend and are encouraged to prepare for wind gusts reaching up to 60 miles per hour, according to a press release from the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency.
“The combination of several inches of snow and heavy winds increases the possibility of power outages,” said Theresa Murray, RIEMA executive director, in the release.
National Grid, the primary provider of electric and gas services to residents across the state, warned customers of the potentially severe storm on their website, adding that they have “started preparing for widespread prolonged power outages that could result from the predicted blizzard-like conditions.”
The company is currently monitoring weather conditions and preparing for a “very damaging storm,” WPRI reported.
‘‘We have a very serious storm approaching,’’ said Gov. Lincoln Chafee ’75 P’14, in a press conference Thursday. ‘‘I encourage all Rhode Islanders to take this seriously. This is a major storm. Be prepared.”
Mayor Angel Taveras instituted a city-wide parking ban for Providence in anticipation of large snow accumulation. The ban is primarily aimed to facilitate snow plowing, as the most recent estimates from the National Weather Service suggest approximately three inches of snow falling each hour during the peak of the storm.
“Personal safety should always be the top priority,” RIEMA wrote in its press release, adding that residents should delay travel planned for Friday and Saturday.