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Irene leaves College Hill wet, in the dark

No injuries reported

Hurricane Irene brought heavy winds and rain to Providence early Sunday morning, knocking out power, suspending public transportation and felling trees across the city and on campus. After sweeping up from North Carolina, the hurricane — downgraded to a tropical storm before it hit the Ocean State — largely spared Rhode Island. By mid-afternoon, residents, including students who had already returned to campus, were breathing sighs of relief.

Marisa Quinn, vice president for public affairs and University relations, said the University was spared "any significant damage" from the storm. The storm knocked down some trees around the campus and blew tree branches and leaves to the ground. Some areas, such as the Main Green and Quiet Green, were affected more severely by the storm's winds than other areas like The Walk.

The campus was largely quiet Sunday afternoon after the storm passed. A few students who arrived early for various programs left their residence halls later in the afternoon to see the damage wrought by the storm.

On Sunday afternoon, debris littered the ground outside Caswell Hall. Ryan Din '14 described campus as looking like a "war zone" in some areas. He said it was impossible to leave Caswell until Sunday afternoon because of heavy winds and falling tree branches.

Adam Siegel '14, outside Sunday afternoon for the first time since the storm hit College Hill, said a large uprooted tree would have hit his room if it had fallen in another direction.

Some campus programs were interrupted or delayed as a result of the storm. Training for Residential Peer Leaders was canceled Sunday and will resume Monday, Din said. The Brown Outdoor Leadership Training also postponed its backpacking trip to the White Mountains by 24 hours to 7 a.m. Tuesday. The hiking trip will now last four nights instead of five.

Normal University operations will resume Monday, according to a campus-wide email sent out Sunday evening.

The City of Providence is working to remove debris from the streets as quickly as possible. Firefighters drove around the East Side Sunday afternoon removing large trees from roads, cutting them up and placing the pieces on the sidewalk. Chris Sulawko '13, who moved into his off-campus house on Friday, said the damage in his area was mostly limited to "leaves and really small branches."

The storm appears to have affected coastal areas of Rhode Island more severely than Providence. Thomas McCauley MD '82, clinical assistant professor of surgery, said he faced severe winds and high waves near his house in Narragansett. "It was like a blizzard without the cold," he said, adding that the National Guard has been keeping people away from the seawall at Narragansett Pier all day due to the dangerous surf.

About half the state was without electricity, the Associated Press reported Sunday.

Elizabeth Powers '14 said her house in Bristol has been without power since the early morning on Sunday. National Grid hopes to have power restored to her house in "a few days," she said.

Quinn said the storm caused "relatively minor disruptions in the scheme of things." She said she hopes members of the Brown community continue to listen to emergency management authorities and follow their advice in the coming days as the cleanup continues.

University Hall began preparations for the hurricane earlier this week, sending out e-mail alerts in advance of the storm and advising students to review the University's Hurricane Plan and remain indoors with storm windows secured. The Sharpe Refectory offered emergency meal packages Saturday that included the ER Bar, a food ration bar sanctioned by the United States Coast Guard.

Quinn said the Department of Facilities Management secured construction sites on campus before Irene hit. Facilities also ensured that emergency generators were functioning properly and that University buildings were monitored during the storm, she said.

No serious storm-related injuries have been reported in Rhode Island. The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority announced Sunday service would be suspended at least until Monday.


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