With at least a foot of snow expected by Tuesday afternoon, emergency management officials said residents should resist the urge to hop in their cars for the usual morning commute.
"Stay inside, that’s the best for everyone," said Pete Gaynor, Rhode Island's director of emergency management. "It keeps you and your family safe. It lets us clear the roads faster, more efficiently when there’s no traffic on the roads. It keeps our plow drivers safe."
Gaynor ordered the state's Emergency Operations Center on full activation, starting Monday at 8 p.m. He said representatives from most state agencies and National Grid would be working together to respond to the storm.
"I think we’re fortunate, at least for RI in the storm, where the snow is going to be dry and powder-like, which is a lot easier to deal with when it comes to snow loading on branches and wires," Gaynor said.
State officials are expecting power outages, but not as many as residents experienced during two previous storms earlier in the month. Gaynor said his staff spent time on Monday monitoring the latest weather forecasts and trying to prepare. In addition to staying off the roads, he urged residents to check in with neighbors and elderly family members during the storm.
"Absolutely help out your neighbors, so if you have some seniors in the neighborhood or very young people that they are susceptible to cold, if they lose power and you don’t, maybe you can offer them your warm house if that’s what it takes."
Third Nor'easter Of March Expected To Bring Blizzard Conditions
It’s been less than a week since the last nor’easter brought almost a foot of snow in many areas and power outages, and another one is right around the corner.
The National Weather Service put a winter storm warning in effect from 11 p.m. Monday night to 8 p.m. Tuesday. According to forecasters, we can expect heavy snow accumulation of 8 to 16 inches across much of Rhode Island and the South Coast.
Hayden Frank, National Weather Service spokesman, said to also expect strong winds.
"Generally 35 to 45 miles per hour. So, that combined with the snow can result in near-blizzard conditions at times," said Frank.
Frank cautioned the storm will affect your commute Tuesday morning, as up to three inches of snow could be falling per hour at that time.
Frank said southeastern Massachusetts and the Cape will be hit the hardest by this storm.
"Not necessarily in terms of snow, although they may get a few inches more, but the issue across far southeast Mass. is it's going to be a wetter snow," said Frank. "And that's going to bring the risk for tree damage and scattered power outages."
Despite this, forecasters are not expecting power outages to be as widespread as they were during last week's nor'easter, which left large numbers of people without power in both Rhode Island and Massachusetts.