Cranston Blizzard of 2013 Central; Digging Out, Power Slowly Being Restored
The latest closings, cancellations, updates, alerts, warnings and everything else relating to the blizzard blasting the region.
The nor'easter is coming. Here's your one-stop-shop for all things storm-related in Cranston. This article will be updated regularly during the storm.
2:45 p.m.: As the city begins the long digging-out process, Mayor Fung is asking people to please stay off the road. Too many cars are getting stuck, stymieing road clearing operations.
"People are making our [operations] difficult," he said.
12:50 p.m.: Governor Chafee has modified the travel ban to make an exception for people without power seeking assistance from shelters or friends and relatives with power.
12:40 p.m.: Lots of businesses are closed today. We're in the process of updating the list of closings and cancellations at the bottom of this article. We do know that Garden City Center is closed — including Whole Foods — and it will remain closed until tomorrow.
Be sure to upload your storm photos HERE.
The National Weather Service has a snowfall total map. Not many reports in Cranston yet. Two reports, one of 16 inches, another of about 10, are on the map. But those numbers seem low based on reports.
12:30 p.m.: The city is opening a warm shelter at the Cranston Senior Center at 4 p.m. for residents without power.
10:48 a.m.: Governor Chafee has banned travel on all roads to give crews room to plow and clear the snow. The ban will likely be lifted at some point today.
10:36 a.m.: We set up a photo gallery to collect reader photos of the storm and aftermath. Please consider sharing some of your photos. Click HERE to check out the gallery.
10:21 a.m. Saturday: The storm has eased. There are plenty of people without power in Cranston. 12,119 National Grid customers are without power in Cranston right now.
Many outages are expected to last for several days.
The National Weather Service is forecasting the snow to continue until about 2 p.m.
All branches of the Cranston Public Library will be closed today due to the storm. There will also be no Sunday hours at the library.
All school buildings are OK this morning, according to School Committee Chairwoman Andrea Iannazzi. A tree did come down at Woodridge Elementary school, but there was no damage to the building.
Cranston Mayor Allan W. Fung said there are more than 30 trees down across the city and crews are exhausted as they try to get plows down main roads.
On Facebook, Fung told residents not to expect perfect curb to curb plowing right now. There is too much snow and no place to put it, he said.
10:57 p.m. It doesn't get much worse than this.
Fifteen trees are down blocking city roads. Crews are working around the clock doing their best to keep up with the snow, which is falling hard and fast.
Power outages continue to climb. 6,700 National Grid customers are now without power. One of them was the Cranston Highway Department on Phenix Avenue, where power was knocked out temporarily but was restored when the generator kicked in.
"We are not immune," the Mayor said.
10:40 p.m.: The storm feels angry. It's 30 degrees and winds are averaging 38 mph and gusting up to 52 mph. Snow is falling at rates between 3 and 5 inches per hour, making conditions severely poor.
A Cranston rescue vehicle was trapped in the snow with wires down on Pontiac Avenue near Mapleton Street.
An update to the snowmobile saga: Mayor Fung is proving himself to be one of the more social media savvy elected officials around. He caught our tweet about the incident we posted about earlier in this article. That tweet prompted the apparent culprits to respond to our tweet, acknowledging it was them and offer an apology of sorts.
"that was us!" said one.
"just trying to have some fun," said another.
In the lightspeed world of social media, word travels fast. Within seconds, Fung astutely caught the admissions and also caught wind of the fact that Fung's Tweet that the snowmobile riders were "idiots" for breaking the law were considered "offensive."
"They just revealed themselves on Twitter bc they said my tweet offensive," Fung said. "Let's see if their parents think same."
Later, Fung said he wasn't trying to be a jerk.
"Our truck almost hit them because we could not see them on the road," he said.
10:03 p.m.: 4,894 National Grid customers without power.
Want to see a power outage map? Click HERE.
9:30 p.m. We're in the thick of it now. 2,434 National Grid customers are without power in Cranston right now, according to the utility.
Cranston Mayor Fung has been riding along with city workers during the storm and said numerous trees are down throughout the city and conditions are awful.
At one point, Fung said he saw several people driving along Hope Road in snowmobiles.
"Just saw two idiots on snowmobiles on Hope Road," he said. "This is serious as it's near whiteout conditions."
Power outages are scattered throughout the city. Outages are occurring on Oaklawn Avenue, parts of Phenix Avenue, in Edgewood and many other spots.
"It's all over," Fung said.
Readers on Twitter have been reporting hearing thunder and seeing flashes of lightning, although some reports of blue flashes could be arcing wires and blown transformers.
@Cavem87 said power has been flickering on and off in Auburn.
5:10 p.m.: Governor Lincoln Chafee has restricted travel on major highways. The ban started at 5 p.m. and includes Interstates 95, 195 and 295. Click here for more.
We're now approaching the worst of the storm. Winds are beginning to pick up. Gusts are reaching 32 mph and traveling in a northeast direction. Meanwhile the snow is falling heavily and at a steady clip. The National Weather Service's Blizzard Warning is in effect until 1 p.m. Saturday and accumulations of up to 24 additional inches are expected overnight.
On Twitter, residents across Cranston are reporting accumulations of 3 or 4 inches.
It looks like we could easily get more than 30 inches at this rate.
3:36 p.m.: We posted an article about the city's snow removal budget before the storm. The budget could be depleted by the time everything is over.
Cranston Mayor Allan W. Fung said the city's plowing operation is running full steam with more than 100 drivers on the road between city workers and outside contractors. He also warned residents via Twitter that cars will be towed.
"Reminder - parking ban in effect in Cranston and we will tow if we must," he said. "Our plows can't do their jobs if there are cars in the road. Please stay off [the] road and let them do their job."
3:10 p.m. Friday: Governor Lincoln Chafee has declared a State of Emergency.
The Rhode Island Blood Center announced that it has adequate supplies of blood but will likely need donors on Sunday to make up for supply decreases during the storm.
Trash pickup in Cranston was suspended at 1 p.m. and residents whose trash were not picked up this morning are asked to bring it back inside for pickup on Monday.
Snow will begin around 10 a.m. It wll begin to get heavy after 2 p.m. and blizzard conditions will occur after 7 p.m. Snow should begin tapering tomorrow afternoon.
Cranston Police have instituted a parking ban that began at midnight and will last until further notice.
City officials sent out an alert early yesterday morning that trash pickup will begin an hour earlier on Friday. Waste Management will get rolling at 5:30 a.m. instead of 6:30 a.m., so be sure to have your bins out on time.
Cranston Mayor Allan W. Fung is urging residents to take the storm seriously and remember that they are responsible for clearing sidewalks in front of their property when the storm ends.
Chief of Staff Carlos Lopez said the city is in the midst of preparations and "we're doing everything by the book."
"We're filling up vehicles, getting the plows in shape, the ones that need repairs are getting done," Lopez said. "We've already contacted our vendors and I think we're in good shape to tackle this."
City Public Works Director Ken Mason said the city's fleet of 30 plows and drivers is ready to go and about 100 outside vendors have already been called in to join the snow-removal effort once the flakes start to fall.
The storm is expected to bring more than 2 feet of snow, possibly more, beginning this morning and lasting into Saturday.
The National Weather Service upgraded its Blizzard Watch to a Blizzard Warning, which means the storm's arrival is imminent. Winds could reach up to 60 mph.
Last night, there were reports of long lines at area markets and shopping carts might be difficult to find. Twitter follower @cranmom58 said the Stop and Shop on Phenix Avenue is "mobbed" with "tons of cars and hardly a cart to be found in the store."
The Warwick Avenue Stop and Shop was "busy," but "definitely not that bad," said @JoshuaAromin in response.
Cranston Police have also postponed their recruitment drive and rescheduled it to Feb. 16 at 10 a.m.
Closings and Cancellations:
- Garden City Center — closed today, including Whole Foods.
- Allied School Court Reporting — closed Saturday, open house moved to Feb. 15.
- CLCF has postponed their registration drive at the CLCF building on Pontiac Avenue this weekend. It will instead run next weekend, Feb. 15 from 6 to 8 p.m. and Feb. 16 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Cranston Public Libraries— closed today and Saturday
- Cranston Senior Center— Adult Day Care closed
- Hope Alzhiemer's Center — closing at 1 p.m. Friday, closed Saturday.
- Holy Apostles Church — first Penance rescheduled to Feb. 23. Conf. retreat cancelled.
- St. Paul's School — closed tomorrow.
- Dept. of Corrections — ACI visitation cancelled effective 3 p.m. Friday and all day Saturday.
- St. Mary School — No school Friday.
- Cranston Police — Recruitment drive postponed, rescheduled to Feb. 16 at 10 a.m.
- St. Paul Church, Edgewood — Feb. 9 First Recon. Retreat postponed.
- Church of the Transfiguration — no PM activities Friday.
- Cornerstone School — school closed, staff report.
- Immaculate Conception Regional School — closed today, activities cancelled.
- Sanford Brown — closed today.
- Toni and guy Hairdressing Academy — closed today.
- A Child's University— closed
- Alpine Preschool— closed
- Carriage House Day Care— closed
- Cherry Tree Enrichment Center— closed
- Cranston Child Development Center— closed
- Faith Nursery School— closed
- First Years Learning Center— closed
- Gingerbread House Preschool— closed
- Kid's Kingdom— closed
- Learning Brooke Center— closed
- Little Shepherd School— closed
- Miss Lee Ann's Preschool— closed
- Pumpkin Patch Early Learning Center — closed
- Western Cranston Learning Center— closed
- AccessPoint RI — no transportation, staff report, closing by noon.
- Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ocean State— closed today, all locations, no home pickups
- CCAP — closed
- Anthony Barone MD ENT Allergy— closed today
- Millwork One— closed today, office staff optional
- To The Pointe Performing Arts— all three locations closed today.
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