RIPR News
4:40 pm
Tue February 1, 2011

R.I. hit with 11th snow storm

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Forecasters say don't put away the shovel just yet, another storm is expected this weekend. Forecasters with the National Weather Service say there's a 50 percent chance of snow mixed with rain for Saturday.

Clearing Roof Tops
The Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency is urging state residents to beware of roof collapses.

Agency director David Smith says the amount of snow we've been getting can cause a roof to give way.

"We've already seen a roof collapse up in Foster at the elementary school and we're just asking businesses, any property owners, state government, anyone to pay attention to your roof load and mitigate that threat if at all possible," says Smith.

A roof rake will do the job, he says. Or, of course, you can call a roofer to do it for you.

RIPTA Route Schedules
The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority says the latest winter storm has suspended and detoured some of its routes and all passengers should expect a 15 minute delay.

RIPTA services from Providence to Newport, service for CCRI Newport, and from Providence to the VA Hospital have been suspended. Meanwhile routes around Providence are being detoured.

RIPTA says road conditions, and massive mounds of snow narrowing some roads have forced the detours and cancellations.

For the latest on RIPTA, check here.

Plow Crews Hit the Roads
The Rhode Island Department of Transportation says it has up to 400 crews out plowing state roads. They've been out since 3:00 AM Tuesday morning. RIDOT spokesman Charles St. Martin says they'll keep working through the mix of snow and rain expected to hit during this afternoon's rush hour.

"Keeping them on during for the commuting hours, do expect a lull between storms, get some of our guys off line for a bit before they come back on tomorrow," says St. Martin.

St. Martin says RIDOT is regulating how much salt it uses along Routes 12 and 14 around the Situate Reservoir, for environmental reasons.

Cities Grapple with Piling Snow
So where's all that snow going that's winding up on streets and sidewalks across Rhode Island?

David Ortiz, a spokesman for Mayor Angel Taveras says crews are trucking snow to open space within a historic cemetery.

"It's being removed to the North Burial Ground, on North Main Street. There's lots of spaces - there's many, many acres," says Ortiz. "We are removing it there right now. In the very short term, we don't anticipate that we're going to run out of room."

In Cranston, Mayor Allan Fung says crews have removed snow banks and taken away snow from the roofs of some city buildings

"We've put some of that excess snow in the parking lot of the Cranston stadium, says Fung. "We also have had authority to use the old Cullion Concrete plant site, which the city had just purchased as open space."

Despite these options, Fung says it has been a frustrating winter.

Snow removal has been less of an issue in Newport because accumulations there have been far smaller.

But Newport Mayor Stephen Waluk says the city is approaching the point where it might need to truck snow to Easton's Beach.

"We have large parking lots down there, and it would be in such a spot it wouldn't be running off, once it melts, it wouldn't be running off into the ocean - it would be going into the beach," says Waluk. "As the snow continues, that's probably what we'd be looking at."

In years past, snow from many communities was commonly dumped in Narragansett Bay. But tougher environmental regulations stopped that practice.

Do you have insight or expertise on this topic? Please email us, we'd like to hear from you. news@wrni.org.