More than two days after thunderstorms brought down trees and power lines in Rhode Island, some 3,000 homes and businesses are still without power, many in the Cranston and Warwick area. Hundreds also remain without power along the southern coast near Westerly and Charlestown, according to National Grid's website.
Officials from National Grid have pushed back the estimate for when power will be restored. They had hoped to resolve the outages by Thursday but are now estimating the power will not come back until Friday.
Utility Crews Work Around The Clock To Fix Broken Power Lines
National Grid had 270 crews working long hours Wednesday to restore power to thousands of Rhode Island homes and businesses. By 5:30 p.m. some 20,000 customers were still without power, but that was down from about 120,000 just after the storm.
National Grid Spokesperson Darlene Massey said the path of the storm left some communities with large numbers of outages.
"It was really devastating for certain communities like Warwick," said Massey. "They have some very mature trees, and if you see the devastation in that community, you see trees that are uprooted, that have fallen onto power lines and onto our equipment, they’ve blocked streets."
Massey said the vast majority of National Grid customers would have power restored by Wednesday night, but a few outages would take longer to fix. The company hoped to get all remaining power back on by the end of Thursday.
Warwick Cleans Up After Storms, Most Roads Re-open
Warwick city workers reported some progress Wednesday on cleanup from thunderstorms that left debris-covered roads and many residents in the dark.
According to the Red Cross, all roads in Warwick have been re-opened. A number of residents spent the night at an emergency shelter at Veterans High School, and organizers say several dozen residents stopped by on Wednesday to re-charge cell phones and other devices.
If enough power is restored, the Red Cross hopes to close the shelter by 7 p.m. on Wednesday.
Cost of Storm Damage May Take Days to Assess
More than 40,000 Rhode Island households and businesses remained without electricity as of 11 o'clock Wednesday morning. National Grid said crews are working to get the lights back on, and the company hopes to have all power restored as soon as possible.
More than 100,000 customers were left without power on Tuesday morning after a band of thunderstorms that brought isolated wind gusts up to 80 miles per hour to some parts Southern New England.
Several campers were injured at Burlingame State Park in Charlestown. One death has been reported in Connecticut, near Mystic.
In Boston, residents watched hail rain down for several minutes, and some Rhode Island residents also reported a brief shower of pea-sized hail.
Trees and power lines were toppled by the storm, damaging some homes.
Warwick Opens Emergency Shelter
The American Red Cross opened an emergency shelter Tuesday evening at Warwick Veterans High School for residents affected by the storms. Warwick sustained a large number of power outages. Shelter organizers said they planned to provide food, water, changing stations and beds for the night.
Embattled Cranston Mayor Tours Storm Damage
Cranston Mayor Allan Fung is dealing with multiple storms this week. First, the release of a State Police report Monday, which sharply criticized Fung and the Cranston Police Department. Now, a severe thunderstorm has downed trees and power lines, leaving thousands without electricity.
Fung’s office says he has been traveling the city, getting a first-hand look at the damage. Many traffic lights are no longer working. The Cranston fire department reported dozens of calls for help during the morning hours.
Thankfully, the mayor's office said it received no reports of serious injuries. Crews are busy clearing roads from debris and downed tree limbs. Mayor Fung says his focus right now is the storm, but he plans to address the State Police Report on the Cranston Police Department on Wednesday.
Morning Storms Roll Through Rhode Island
National Grid reported more than 100,000 customers without power in Rhode Island, many south of Warwick and in the Cranston area. Thousands of customers in Westerly and Wakefield also lost power.
The outages are due to severe thunderstorms which rolled through Rhode Island in the morning hours, according to Darlene Masse, a spokesperson for National Grid.
“We have some damage to our lines, some damage related to wind and lightning, we are calling in extra crews to work on restoration,” said Masse.
Weather Service meteorologist Matt Doody said the storms struck between 6 and 7:30am, bringing strong winds.
“We had a recorded gust of 67 miles per hour at TF Green Airport,” said Doody. “But we believe that there were stronger winds elsewhere in the storm. Several reports of trees down, some unfortunately on some homes, as well as a little bit of minor street flooding.”
Doody added that some parts of the state did see small amounts of pea-sized hail.
National Grid’s Masse said the company has set up a 24-hour operation site in the state to restore power.
“We’re in the process of exploring the damage, and figuring out, basically assessing what the damage is,” said Masse. “And once we’re done with those assessments we’ll have a better idea of how long it’s going to take to restore customers.”
The morning storms have mostly moved on to Southeast Massachusetts, but meteorologist Matt Doody said Rhode Island may only get a brief reprieve from the stormy weather.
“Unfortunately it may be an active day,” said Doody. “We’re expecting this to kind of clear out, you may even see some sunshine for a little while. And then we’ll head into the afternoon, and then unfortunately we’ll have to watch it again for the possibility for some strong to severe storms this afternoon.”
National Grid reminds residents not to touch or go near downed power lines. You can report a local power outage here.
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