12 News has you covered for the this storm and its aftermath. This story will be updated with everything you need to know.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — In the aftermath of what ended up being one of the biggest snowstorms to hit the Providence area, people are digging out of deep and drifted snow, while some Massachusetts residents are enduring power outages.
The National Weather Service has confirmed that official blizzard conditions were met in Providence, Newport, Block Island, and Westerly (winds of 35+ mph and visibility of a quarter-mile or less for three straight hours). No parts of Bristol County, Mass., recorded that officially, but the whole region saw blizzard-like conditions throughout the day on Saturday.
Rhode Island’s travel ban was lifted at midnight and area bridges have since reopened.
Snowfall totals show more than two feet fell in Warren, while Attleboro and Charlestown had more than 20 inches.
New Bedford saw more than 18 inches. City offices will reopen on Monday, though there is no word on schools yet.
The Warwick School District will shift to distance learning on Monday.
Below, you’ll find all the latest updates on the storm and its impacts.
Be sure to download the 12 News and Pinpoint Weather apps to receive important storm updates on your phone or tablet.
Sunday – 10:30 a.m.
Sky Drone 12 takes a look at the aftermath of the Blizzard of 2022 over East Providence on Sunday morning.
New snow totals:
A Blizzard Warning for Rhode Island and Bristol County has been canceled as the storm begins to wind down.
Sally Faulkner and Adam Irujo didn’t let more than a foot of snow stop them from tying the knot in Providence Saturday afternoon!
The National Weather Service has officially declared a blizzard in Providence, Newport, Block Island and Westerly.
New snow totals:
New snow totals:
In a storm briefing at RIEMA headquarters, Gov. McKee announced the travel bans for passenger vehicles and tractor-trailers have been extended until midnight. He said some cities and towns had to take plows off the roads because the visibility was so bad.
“This travel ban extension until midnight will give those communities the ability to catch up and make up for the time that they were off the road and be able to get back out there and be able to get back out there and finish up their work before midnight,” RIDOT Director Peter Alviti said.
RIPTA will resume service Sunday morning, McKee said, while state-run COVID-19 testing and vaccination sites will reopen at noon.
National Grid tells 12 News they’ll have crews working through the night to restore any power outages, which so far have been minimal in Rhode Island.
Gov. McKee said Saturday afternoon that Rhode Island officials are considering the possibility of extending the statewide travel ban past 8 p.m. depending on weather conditions.
“We put in a travel ban to keep people off the roads until at least 8 o’clock tonight. We’ll be making assessments between now and then on whether we extend that,” McKee said during a midafternoon national TV appearance on CNN.
McKee reiterated that he is pleased with the relatively low number of power outages in Rhode Island so far, but said the possibility of large-scale electricity losses remain a “wild card” for the state. He also said the blizzard “most likely will be first or second on a one-day snow accumulation in a 24-hour period in the history of the state of Rhode Island.”
The governor and other state officials are scheduled to provide another storm briefing at 4 p.m. at R.I. Emergency Management Agency headquarters. 12 News will carry the briefing live on air and online.
(McKee was also asked about the breaking news on Tom Brady’s retirement from the NFL. “We won’t be calling this the Rhode Island storm of 2022 – we’re going to call this the day that Tom Brady retired,” the governor said. “Right? That’s how today is going to go down and be remembered.”)
Here’s where we take a brief break from the storm coverage to pass along that Tom Brady is reportedly retiring from the NFL after 22 seasons.
The latest snow totals show Attleboro is up to 15 inches, while T.F. Green Airport is about to reach a foot.
Gov. McKee and emergency response officials will hold their next briefing at 4 p.m., which will be carried live on WPRI 12 and right here on WPRI.com.
Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker and public safety officials have scheduled a news conference at 5 p.m. in Boston.
Providence has met the official criteria for a blizzard, joining Newport and Block Island.
Watch: New Bedford police help stranded driver
12 News caught up with a couple out walking on Smith Street in Providence during the height of the storm:
We already have reports of more than a foot of snow in Norton, and a foot in Burrillville and Attleboro!
Update from RIEMA headquarters:
As the blizzard intensified, Gov. Dan McKee said late Saturday morning that power outages are the “wild card” for Rhode Island officials managing the storm response.
During a live Zoom interview on The Weather Channel, he noted that the state hit blizzard conditions during the 10 a.m. hour, and said Rhode Island is on course to experience one of the five biggest snowstorms ever recorded here. “It’s serious and we’re taking it that way,” he said.
Only 225 National Grid customers in Rhode Island were without power as of 11:15 a.m., while there were more than 100,000 in eastern Massachusetts between National Grid and Eversource. McKee said National Grid has roughly 1,000 personnel and hundreds of vehicles on standby in case of tree damage or downed power lines.
“We’re prepared, but that is the wild card,” he said. “That is the one that we’re very concerned about.”
McKee said he has a call with the National Weather Service this afternoon, and he’s expected to hold another news conference sometime after that. 12 News plans to carry the briefing live on-air and online.
While it won’t be made official until after the storm, Newport and Block Island have both met the criteria for a blizzard. (winds of 35+ mph and visibility of a quarter-mile or less for three straight hours)
The heaviest of the snowfall is expected between now and 4 p.m.
Gov. Dan McKee and other state officials held a news conference at RIEMA headquarters.
While power outages have so far been minimal in Rhode Island, eastern Massachusetts is starting to get knocked offline, with 75,000 Eversource customers and 8,000 National Grid customers currently out, mostly on Cape Cod and south of Boston.
9 a.m. – phone interview with New Bedford mayor
8:30 a.m. – live interview with RIEMA Director Marc Pappas
The American Red Cross announced it’s opening an emergency shelter at 7 p.m. Saturday at South Kingstown High School, which will be available to all individuals and families in need.
A statewide travel ban is now in effect and all bridges are closed. Only plows and people in specific industries like health care workers and first responders should be on the roads in Rhode Island.
Watch: Ride-along with plow driver in East Providence
Rhode Island State Police tell 12 News they responded to 15 weather-related crashes overnight, mostly between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m.
A tractor-trailer ban is now in effect in Rhode Island.
“We want to make sure that the drivers that are doing the plowing are safe, so this is a precautionary strategy,” McKee said. “On a Saturday, we should be able to keep people off the roads. Let us clear the streets in a way that makes sense.”
Several inches of snow are on the ground, and winds of 50+ mph have already been recorded.
Here’s a look at the driving conditions on I-95 in Cranston:
Here’s a look at the road conditions on Route 1 in South Kingstown.
The snow and wind have started to pick up. Here’s a look at the New Bedford pier.
Driving has already started to become difficult as snow accumulates on the roadways. See the driving conditions on I-195 West and East below:
Snow began to fall late Friday and increased throughout the day Saturday, with approximately 1″ to 3″ falling per hour in some areas.
The heavy snowfall and strong wind gusts are expected to gradually diminish by midnight, though visibility will likely remain low due to snowdrifts.
The latest accumulations range between 15″ to 25″ across the region. The area has experienced wind gusts of more than 50 mph as well.
Local cities and towns issued parking bans for Saturday.
- All state-run COVID-19 testing and vaccination sites in Rhode Island were closed on Saturday.
- The 24-hour testing site at CCRI Warwick will reopen at 8 a.m. Sunday.
- PPAC announced that due to the weather conditions, the 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. performances of Jesus Christ Superstar on Saturday have been canceled. Ticket holders will be automatically refunded through their original method of payment.
- PPAC announced that the 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. shows on Sunday will go on as scheduled.
- The PC men’s basketball game against Marquette has been rescheduled for Sunday, Jan. 30, at 12:30 p.m.
- Bishop Thomas Tobin urged Catholics to stay home, saying they are dispensed from their obligation to attend Sunday Mass.
A tractor-trailer ban went into effect at 6 a.m. in Rhode Island, followed by a full travel ban at 8 a.m. which covers the entire state, not just state roads.
“Stay off the roads,” McKee said Friday, adding that there are exceptions for people in specific fields like first responders and health care workers.
RIPTA service has also been canceled for Saturday, but will be fully operational on Sunday.
Providence officials said there’s zero excuse to be on the road Saturday unless it’s an absolute emergency.
“Do not be that person that puts yourself in a position to be stranded or to be impeding traffic,” Col. Clements said.
Mayor Jorge Elorza asked every property owner to pitch in by clearing their sidewalks of snow, but said not to push snow back out into the roads if possible.
R.I. Department of Transportation Director Peter Alviti said they have 75,000 tons of road salt available, with 150 state plows and 350 vendor plows ready to roll.
Nearly all flights arriving and departing T.F. Green Airport on Saturday were canceled, while the majority of Sunday’s flights appear to be coming and going as scheduled, according to the WPRI.com Flight Tracker.
While many Southern New Englanders will be hunkered down during the storm, the strong winds and heavy snow could take down some tree limbs and cause power outages.
National Grid tells 12 News that utility crews are fanned out across the region and are fully prepared to respond to any outages caused by the storm.
To report an outage, call National Grid at 1-800-465-1212, Eversource at 1-800-592-2000, the Pascoag Utility District at (401) 568-6222, or the Block Island Utility District at (401) 466-5851.
Here are some winter storm safety resources from the American Red Cross to help you prepare for the storm:
- How to prevent pipes from freezing »
- How to use generators safely »
- How to prevent frostbite and hypothermia »
- What to do if there’s a power outage »
- How to keep pets safe during a storm »
- What to include in an emergency kit »
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