Roughly 100,000 National Grid customers back online as restoration work continues

Tracking the Tropics

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — National Grid crews are starting to make headway in getting the lights back on for tens of thousands of Southern New Englanders after Tropical Storm Isaias hit the area.

It was short, but strong. Wind gusts of up to 60 mph caused damage across Rhode Island and Massachusetts, resulting in widespread power outages.

At its peak on Tuesday, there were more than 140,000 outages in Rhode Island alone, topping the amount caused by superstorm Sandy in 2012 and the macroburst in 2015.

As of 8 a.m. Thursday, National Grid had reduced the number of outages in Rhode Island under 19,000. Another 31,000 customers were still out in Massachusetts — 196 in Bristol County, Mass.

Power Outages: Real-Time Updates and Safety Information »

National Grid said the majority of customers will have their power restored by Thursday evening.

“We know there are still customers waiting,” Michael McCallan, vice president of New England Electric Operations. “We will continue working until every customer is back on.”

The hardest hit areas, according to National Grid, include Coventry, Cumberland, Providence and Cranston.

While getting power restored quickly is a priority, utility crews also need to take the pandemic into consideration. Eversource spokesperson Reid Lamberty said they have one employee per truck to maintain social distancing.

“So one shows up, then you’ve got to wait for another truck to show up before you perform some assistance there, but I don’t think customers are really going to notice,” he said.

National Grid said there are more than 2,700 personnel working to restore power, as well as remove downed wires and broken utility poles.

Isaias also kicked up rough surf along the coast and created dangerous rip currents. A High Surf Advisory is currently in effect.

Beach and Boating Conditions: Forecast, Tides, Winds, Waves and More » | Rip Current Safety »

Meteorologist Tony Petrarca said beachgoers should be very cautious about swimming and check with the lifeguards to make sure the conditions are safe.

Many Eyewitness News viewers sent in pictures and videos of the storm damage where they live. If you have pictures and videos you want to share, send them to us through ReportIt!

Photos: Tropical Storm Isaias downs trees, power lines »
ReportIt: Send us your Isaias pics and video »

The Rhode Island Red Cross is reminding everyone of how they can keep themselves and others safe while crews work to restore power:

Staying Safe Indoors

  • Use flashlights in the dark, not candles. 
  • Eliminate unnecessary travel, especially by car. Traffic lights will be out and roads will be congested. 
  • If you are using a generator be sure you understand the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning and how to use generators safely. Never operate a generator inside homes, garages, basements, crawl spaces, sheds or other partially enclosed spaces, even if using a fan or opening doors and windows. Carbon Monoxide (CO) can quickly build up in these spaces and linger for hours after a generator is shut down. Place your generator outside, well away 

Food Safety

  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. An unopened refrigerator will keep foods cold for about 4 hours. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed. 
  • First use perishable food from the refrigerator. Perishables should have a temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius) or below to be safe to eat. Then use food from the freezer. 
  • Use your non-perishable foods and staples after using food from the refrigerator and freezer. 
  • If it looks like the power outage will continue beyond a day, prepare a cooler with ice for your freezer items. 
  • Keep food in a dry, cool spot and keep it covered at all times. 

Electrical Equipment

  • Turn off and unplug all unnecessary electrical equipment, including sensitive electronics. 
  • Turn off or disconnect any appliances (like stoves), equipment or electronics you were using when the power went out. When power comes back on, surges or spikes can damage equipment. 
  • Leave one light turned on so you’ll know when the power comes back on. 

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