Details about Sandy in Rhode Island

By News Staff

news@abc6.com

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – STATE OF EMERGENCY: President Barack Obama declared an emergency ahead of the arrival of Sandy, freeing up federal funding and resources.

Gov. Lincoln Chafee also declared a state of emergency, saying he had “grave concerns'' about high winds and a storm surge that could be worsened by Monday evening's full moon high tide.

In addition to coastal communities further south, Chafee said communities at the top of the bay, including Providence, Cranston, Warwick, East Providence and Bristol, where a storm surge could be the worst, were of particular concern.

INJURIES: Minor injuries were reported in East Providence when a tree fell on a car, according to fire officials.

POWER OUTAGES: More than 100,000 customers had lost power by Monday evening, according to National Grid.

EVACUATIONS: State officials said they were unsure how many residents had been asked to leave their homes, but mandatory evacuations were declared in low-lying and coastal portions of communities including Westerly, Charlestown, Narragansett, South Kingstown, Tiverton, Middletown and Bristol.

SHELTERS: Officials said only a handful of people had gone to shelters, which are open in communities throughout the state. 

KEY ROAD/GOVERNMENT CLOSINGS: Schools and colleges were closed on Monday, and several had plans to close Tuesday. Nonessential state agencies and office were closed Monday and Tuesday. Some city offices were open, although many city services, such as trash pickup, were canceled. Public bus service ended at noon Monday. Amtrak trains were canceled Monday and Tuesday. All flights were canceled at T.F. Green Airport. Ports were closed to vessel traffic. Major bridges were open, but Rhode Island State Police were monitoring wind speeds and would close the spans on a temporary basis as needed. Officials decided not to close Interstate 95.

HURRICANE BARRIER: The Fox Point Hurricane Barrier in Providence was closed Monday morning to protect against an expected storm surge. Chafee said officials were concerned about communities at the top of Narragansett Bay being hit. He said this would be biggest test yet of the barrier, which was built in the 1960s after hurricanes swamped downtown Providence in 1938 and 1954, and said he worried about where water south of the barrier would go.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Make the decision now,'' to evacuate coastal and low-lying areas, Chafee said Monday afternoon.