Thousands without power after Isaias side-swipes Southern New England; restoration process will be ‘multi-day event’

Tracking the Tropics

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Tropical Storm Isaias didn’t stick around Southern New England for long but its impacts are still being felt across the area.

Wind damage was reported around Rhode Island and Massachusetts, and many households and businesses have lost power.

As of 10 a.m., more than 82,000 National Grid customers were without electricity in Rhode Island and more than 100,000 were out in Massachusetts. Nearly 7,000 of those are in Bristol County, Mass. with the most in Attleboro, Rehoboth and Seekonk.

Power Outages: Real-Time Updates and Safety Information »

National Grid Spokesperson Ted Kresse tells Eyewitness News that restoration efforts are underway, but it will be a multi-day process to get everyone back up and running. He expects some people will be without power for days.

“We will have to see where we are in the morning and assess the damage, but it will probably be a multi day event for some customers,” he said, adding that no part of Rhode Island was left untouched by the storm.

Photos: Tropical Storm Isaias downs trees, power lines »
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The Jeanne Jugan Residence Home in Pawtucket was one of many facilities statewide to lose power due to the storm.

Eyewitness News has learned more than a dozen rescues were called in to the help transfer patients to area hospitals after the facility’s generator died.

While the heavy rain has moved out, the strong winds are expected to stick around through the evening, with gusts of up to 40–50 mph possible.

Kresse said the strong wind gusts have been hampering their restoration efforts, but they will be working around the clock until power is restored to everyone.

“We’re still seeing some really significant gusts continue well into the evening here and can’t put our guys and gals up in the buckets when winds are over 35 mph. It’s just not safe for them,” he said.

The storm also kicked up rough surf along the coast and created dangerous rip currents.

Beaches in both Newport and Middletown were closed to the public Tuesday, but it didn’t stop spectators from heading to the shoreline to see the waves.

“Seeing how angry the ocean is and the sky, it’s very dramatic,” Maggi Lissy said.

Kite surfers, like Remi Drozd, also capitalized on the strong winds and large waves.

“When hurricanes come through, you get a window of huge, beautiful waves and really powerful winds,” Drozd said, adding that these are the “perfect conditions” for kite surfing.

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

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. 

A number of flights in and out of T.F. Green Airport in Warwick were canceled or delayed due to the storm, most of which were traveling up and down the East Coast.

Updates: Flight Tracker »

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Shaun Towne, Melanie DaSilva, Sarah Doiron, Logan Wilber, Shiina LoSciuto and Rob Nesbitt contributed to this report.

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