RI digs out after snow storm, widespread outages
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Thousands made do without power Saturday night as Rhode Island dug its way out of a storm that left as much as two feet of snow in some parts of the state.
Jon Pincince of South Kingstown lost power in the early hours of the storm Friday night. When he still didn't have it Saturday, he drove his four children to stay with his parents in Cumberland because he expected the outage to last a few days, just as it did after Superstorm Sandy last fall. Temperatures were forecast to drop, and he didn't want his children to sleep in a cold house.
"It wasn't too cold when we went to sleep, but we woke up this morning and it was about 47 degrees," he said. He said his family spent Friday night playing with their previously-charged smartphones and then reading by flashlight.
Nearly 129,000 customers remained without power Saturday night, according to the state's primary utility, National Grid. Nearly all of Bristol County and most of Newport County were in the dark, as were many homes in communities along the southern coast and surrounding Providence. National Grid cautioned that it could be days before power is fully restored, even though it is bringing crews from outside the region to help. At its height, the storm knocked out power to more than 180,000 customers.
"We've had some major transmission lines down," said Tim Horan, head of National Grid in Rhode Island. "Our folks will continue to work through the night ... We'll make a big dent and get these customers back."
Community shelters in areas hardest hit by outages were opened Saturday afternoon. Gov. Lincoln Chafee said that as of Saturday evening few people were using the shelters. He encouraged people to look after elderly neighbors and relatives and said anyone who needs transportation to a shelter to call 211.
"We still have a large number of Rhode Islanders without power, and with the weather forecast being extremely cold we have concerns," he said. "Please be safe."