Governor McKee signs emergency declaration ahead of Tropical Storm Henri

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – Governor Dan McKee signed an emergency declaration Friday ahead of Tropical Storm Henri’s landfall this weekend.

The emergency declaration will allow Rhode Island to access federal dollars to help with an emergency response.

At a press conference featuring officials from National Grid, the National Guard, and EMA, Rhode Islanders were urged to shelter in place on Sunday. Rhode Islanders are also warned not to go down to the beaches to watch the storm.

Governor McKee said the Emergency Operations Center will be activated tomorrow morning.

Emergency Management Director Marc Pappas said as the storm tracks west, Rhode Island is ending up in the right front quadrant of the storm, which he says is “the very, very dangerous part of the storm.” The projected landfall has moved to where Rhode Island and Connecticut meet.

Tropical storm force winds are expected to arrive Sunday morning and peak Sunday afternoon with gusts 60 to 80 miles per hour along the coast and Block Island. Pappas said forty to fifty-mile per hour winds are projected for inland.

“The problem with this storm is it seems to want to slow down rather than speed up,” he said. “And the more it slows down the more it’ll rain, and the more difficult it’ll be for power crews to get up in the buckets to work on the lines that may go down.”

Pappas also emphasized that if you are told to evacuate, do not try to “ride this out.” Evacuate immediately.

Preparation tips offered at the conference include:

  • Sign up for REMA alerts
  • Have a plan, and review yours if you already have one
  • Have a safety kit, including cleaning supplies, pet supplies, PPE, flashlights, batteries, and other essential items
  • If you must got to a shelter, follow the latest COVID recommendations from the CDC

RIPTA services will continue as normal Saturday, and will be assessed Sunday.

Five of the 10 regional shelters are ready to go, according to Susan Roberts, Executive Director of the Red Cross Rhode Island Chapter. Those shelters are at Cumberland High School, the Joseph Gaudet Middle School in Middletown, the Providence Career Technical Academy, South Kingstown High School and the Chairho Middle School in Wood River Junction.

“As a former mayor, I am familiar with everybody that’s up here,” Governor McKee said, gesturing to the officials onstage. “I’ve worked with these individuals for years and have a great deal of confidence in every one of them. That’s why we’re going to be wanting to listen to them.”

The Department of Environmental Management also released how they are preparing for the storm.

Categories: News, Rhode Island