East Providence begins preparations for weekend blizzard nor’easter

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EAST PROVIDENCE — Officials from all of city’s affected departments, from Public Works to Public Safety to Emergency Management, spent the better part of Thursday morning, Feb. 7, formulated their plans in response to the winter storm already dubbed “Nor’easter Nemo” expected to bring blizzard conditions to the area Friday and Saturday.

The East Providence Police Department has yet to officially issue a parking ban, though one is imminent. City officials remain in regular contact with the R.I. Emergency Management Agency and National Grid in preparation for the storm.

“We’re treating this like all the big storms we’ve had here in the last 10 years or so,” said East Providence Emergency Management Director Wayne Barnes. “Public Works is ready. They’re super staffed. Police and fire are adding extra staff. Everyone knows what to do in these types of situations.”

A meteorologist by trade, Mr. Barnes is forecasting anywhere from 15 to 20 inches of snow for East Providence, specifically, with the chance of a couple of more inches by storm’s end. A Blizzard Watch remains in effect from Friday morning through Saturday afternoon. He predicts light snow Friday morning will become steadier and somewhat heavier after noontime and really begin to pick up Friday night into early Saturday.

“There remains a slight chance of a brief mix with sleet and rain in the evening, but we’ll actually be better off if this does not happen,” Mr. Barnes said, adding accumulating snow should be just about done by noon Saturday.

Winds associated with the nor’easter are also expected to be strong with gusts to 50 to 60 miles per hour Friday night into Saturday.

One thing coastal areas of the city do not have to worry about, according to Mr. Barnes, is flooding. The East Providence coast line will not receive the brunt of the winds and surf generated by the storm. He said flooding is likely of great concern in the South Shore area of Massachusetts.

“We’re not facing a flood threat because our coast line faces with the wind,” said Mr. Barnes. “Our biggest concern right now is if there ends up being a lot of power outages.”

Some power outages should be expected in the area Friday night and Saturday morning. Mr. Barnes said, if necessary, the Senior Center located on Waterman Avenue will serve as a landing spot for any residents needing to evacuate their homes due to loss of heat, electricity or other emergencies.

“Storm operations will continue as long necessary during the weekend to clear streets and get back to business as usual,” Mr. Barnes added.

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