State officials warn of extreme weather conditions impacting RI


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is warning everyone not only of the rough surf battering the coastline due to Hurricane Teddy, but also of the strong wind gusts that, coupled with the extreme drought conditions, could fuel brush fires.

The DEM’s Mike Healey tells 12 News the state could see waves more than 10 feet high, and a High Surf Advisory is currently in effect along the coast.

“If you add the element of waves breaking onto those rocks, and if you’re on those rocks, it’s a real hazard,” Healey explained.

Healey is asking Rhode Islanders to heed their warning in hopes of preventing unnecessary tragedies from happening.

Hurricane Teddy is currently more than 350 miles off the coast of Massachusetts, but the rough surf is expected to continue over the next several days.

And rough surf isn’t the only condition the state is concerned about.

State Fire Marshal Tim McLaughlin tells 12 News the state has been placed under a Red Flag Warning due to the potential for critical fire conditions.

“The winds are going to pick up and it’s dry,” McLaughlin explained. “It doesn’t take much to get a lot of area burning very, very fast.”

McLaughlin is urging Rhode Islanders not to use fire pits or light any fires until the wind gusts have subsided.

A popular fall activity has also been affected by the extreme weather conditions.

Joe Iaciofano, owner of Knight Farm, tells 12 News the drought has reduced the number of apples available for picking in his orchard.

“You have plenty of trees out here and you are expecting them all to be filled, but this year, they’re not,” he said.

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