Rhode Island, Massachusetts prepare for Hurricane Lee

Dark, heavy clouds are seen hovering over overboard power lines in Rhode Island. (WLNE)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — While Hurricane Lee is making its way toward coastal New England, Rhode Island Energy and New Bedford are preparing for its impacts.

Lee’s path is not projected to actually make landfall in Rhode Island and Bristol County, Massachusetts.

“This storm could have a major impact on Rhode Island, which is why we’ve been tracking it for days and putting our plans in place,” said Dave Bonenberger, president of Rhode Island Energy.

With the storm predicted to arrive Friday, Rhode Island Energy said it will be ready to respond to outages with over 2,000 workers across the region.

“Most of the trees across the state haven’t lost any leaves yet, and with the ground already saturated from significant rainfall this summer, these tropical force winds could create outages,” said Bonenberger. “Fortunately, we have secured additional line and tree workers to assist us in our restoration efforts.”

The electricity supplier is reminding customers to stay safe and report any outages at rienergy.com or by calling 855-743-1102.

In New Bedford, Mayor Jon Mitchell said city beaches, city-operated boat ramps, CoveWalk, HarborWalk, and Fort Taber will be closed Friday.

Buttonwood Park Zoo will be closed Saturday.

Mitchell said the Army Corps of Engineers could close the New Bedford Hurricane Barrier depending on the high tides.

The New Bedford Regional Airport, however, will remain open as long as it’s safe, said the mayor.

Here are hurricane preparedness tips for New Bedford residents and business owners.

Lee is expected to bring tropical force winds, heavy rains, and potential coastal flooding. Winds could guts anywhere from 40 to 60 mph.

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