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Snowfall causes statewide disruption

Transportation was suspended and more than 176,000 RI residents were left without power

Winter Storm Nemo blew through Rhode Island starting Friday morning and into Saturday, burying parts of the state in upwards of two feet of snow. The ‘blizzicane’ is the fifth worst winter storm New England has seen in a century.

Local medical provider Lifespan reported 282 hospitalizations related to the blizzard, stemming from causes such as shoveling and motor vehicle accidents, according to WPRI.

Power outages affected 14.5 percent of the states’ population — nearly all homes and businesses in Newport and Bristol lost power — but most of the outages were in Providence county, according to the National Grid’s website. After more than 9,000 Providence homes lost power during the storm, only about 200 were still waiting for power to be restored as of yesterday evening, Mayor Angel Taveras tweeted, with over 176,000 outages statewide, according to Gov. Lincoln Chafee ’75 P’14 P’16.

Chafee declared a state of emergency in Rhode Island Friday. Shelters opened across the state Feb. 8 and 9, offering warmth to those without electricity. The most snowfall recorded during Nemo in the state was in West Glochester, which received 27.6 inches.

Travel was at a standstill in Massachusetts and Rhode Island for most of Friday and Saturday. Those caught driving during the storm would have faced fines of up to $500 and a year in prison. Airports shut down across the Northeast, including T. F. Green and Boston’s Logan Airport. Amtrak stations across the Northeast cancelled service for a majority of the weekend but are beginning to open up limited service as the tracks are cleared. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority offered limited service yesterday and is expected to return to full service today, though with “significant delays,” according to the organization’s website.

The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority will resume service today, though at least 20 lines will be rerouted and riders should expect delays, according to the organization’s website.

Chafee spent six hours touring the state and assessing damage Saturday, visiting shelters and the National Grid headquarters, the Providence Journal reported.

“We’re hoping to get the city fully operational by Monday morning,” Taveras said in an interview with the Providence Journal, adding that all of the city’s power should be back on by today. Chafee lifted the travel ban Saturday afternoon.

Trash collection was also affected and garbage will not be picked up today in Providence due to poor road conditions, according to a press release from city trash collection officials. A city-wide parking ban will remain in effect today.

The Providence Public School District will also remain closed today.

The most snow that ever fell on Rhode Island in a 24 hour period was in 1978, when it snowed 30 inches in Woonsocket.


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