Rhode Island Hit With Third Major Winter Storm In A Month

Feb 9, 2015

Rhode Islanders have more snow to deal with, as yet another winter storm hits the northeast.  Forecasters are predicting around a foot of snow will fall in Rhode Island by the end of the day Monday. Nearly a foot of snow had already fallen in some areas by 4 p.m. 

Most of the heavy snowfall was concentrated in northern areas including Pawtucket, Cumberland and Providence.  Southern parts of the state, like Newport and Westerly, saw snow totals on the order of 3-5 inches.

More snow is expected, and National Weather Service meteorologist Bill Simpson says things could get messy during the evening commute.  “Snow will be winding down; however, not knowing the conditions of the roads, we’ve still got another two to three inches of snow during the mid-evening commute, and still some light snow during the overnight.”

Plows at work in downtown Providence, as the city deals the with the third major snow storm in a month.
Credit John Bender / RIPR

Snow Snarls Morning Commute

On Monday morning, Weather Service Meteorologist Ben Thompson said the state was about halfway through a three-day storm. 

“This event’s still going to drag out likely into a good part of tonight (Monday).  Right now we can see what looks to be a somewhat enhanced area of snow that’s approaching.”

Thompson said another 4-7 inches could fall in Rhode Island by the end of the storm.  

“We’re seeing somewhat heavier precipitation moving into New England; it’s working its way now into Western Connecticut. And it looks like as the morning goes on we will see somewhat heavier snow.”

The snowfall was expected to make for a potentially messy commute, and forecasters said it would likely last into Monday night, and possibly early Tuesday morning.

Residents Ride Out Third Storm In Less Than A Month

Woonsocket resident Mike Kariotis said he’s seen winter storms before, but the recent series of snow storms has caused some inconvenience. 

“We’ll let’s see, I been taking the bus a lot instead of taking my car.  I work in Johnston, Rhode Island, and I live in Woonsocket, so you can imagine the roads, you know, horrible,” said Kariotis.

In Pawtucket, Dennis Desjardin said he’s used to snowy winters, and with a little planning storms aren’t so bad.

“You don’t have to beat the rush to get to the store for the milk and bread if you plan and stock up ahead of time, and avoid having to make those last-minute runs when the weather’s bad.”  Desjardin added that he thinks he’s weathered worse winter storms.

Several snow plows cleared the parking lot at The Crossing shopping center in Smithfield, while shoppers scurried in and out of businesses. Some were buying salt and fire starters. Smithfield resident David Lee and his friend were picking up food. Lee says he loves the snow.

"I love it,” said Lee. “I just came back from Salmon, Idaho on vacation. We’re getting food and some movies. Start the fireplace. And everybody gets a day off.”

And a day to dig out roads, cars and sidewalks yet again. In some areas, crews struggled to keep up with a steady snow fall. Lee says his town seems to be doing a decent job plowing the streets. 

Snowy Conditions Delay Public Transit

By mid-day the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority said at least 10 bus routes had been detoured due to road conditions; all riders should expect some delays.  Amtrak trains were were running as scheduled in the morning between Washington, D.C. and Boston. Some New York trains had been canceled. 

Massachusetts officials suspended commuter rail service at 7 p.m. Monday through the end of the day Tuesday, following delays that slowed the morning commute. At T.F. Green Airport, most departures were listed on time in the morning, but most arrivals had been canceled.

Snow Removal Crews Feel The Effects Of Frequent Storms

Rhode Island’s Emergency Management Agency said three snowstorms in three weeks have taken a toll on road crews and equipment. The state has enough salt to get through this storm, but State Emergency Management Director Peter Gaynor said plow drivers have had little time to rest and fix equipment since cleanup ended from last week's storm.

"It’s a constant action by plow drivers and vendors to keep the roads clear and all roads passable so for us, it’s just a long drawn out event," Gaynor said.

State Transit officials expect to use up the remaining budget for snow removal by the time they complete cleanup from this storm.

While it would be nice to have a week without a snow storm,  Gaynor acknowledged, "this is New England."

The National Weather Service is calling for more snow possible later this week.

Click here for a full list of what’s opened and closed around the state.