Updated at 5:00 pm
More than 36,000 Rhode Island customers were without power as of this afternoon. Some 200 individual outages are spread across the state.
David Graves, spokesperson for National Grid says wet, heavy snow, snapping power lines, and downing tree limbs is to blame. The utility has dispatched 70 line-crews on the roads, along with 30 tree crews.
Graves say downed trees, and the snow accumulation are making for difficult conditions, which could hamper crews, and slow down some power restoration efforts.
National Grid has been restoring customers throughout the day, and will have 20 line crews working through the night. Graves says some people may not see power restored until well into Saturday.
Updated at 10:30 am
Major roads have been generally clear of accidents, according to the State Department of Transportation and the State Police. That’s in part due to the copious number of school and business closings keeping residents at home and off the streets.
Six RIPTA bus routes have been detoured across the state.
Many municipalities have announced parking bans, including Providence and Woonsocket, and as far south as Westerly.
Several schools have announced snow days, including Providence private school Moses Brown. Last year the school’s head Matt Glendinning went viral with his musical parody video “School Is Closed” based on the Disney song “Let It Go.”
This year Glendinning offered a parody of the Adele hit “Hello” with “Hello, School Is Closed.”
Temperatures are hovering around freezing, making for wet, heavy snow, of the sort that’s good for snowmen, but bad for power lines. National Grid is already reporting more than 100 outages in areas across the state, with the most in Providence and Kent counties.
The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch for Rhode Island starting Thursday night and lasting into Friday afternoon.
Forecasters are predicting this storm will be far less intense than the winter storm that grazed Rhode Island last month. Flakes will likely start to fall in the early morning hours on Friday.
National Weather Service meteorologist Matt Doody said the western part of the state will likely miss the brunt of the storm. Greater Providence residents will probably need to get out their shovels.
“For kind of the eastern, southern part of Rhode Island, away from the coastline especially, anywhere from three to six inches is possible,” said Doody.
Despite generally less snow, Doody said morning drivers should still be cautious.
“There could be some snow falling by the commute,” said Doody. “Temperatures are going to be kind of marginal, so it will be interesting to see how much is sticking. But if it comes down hard enough, it could certainly make things sticky.”
The snow will likely taper out by Friday afternoon; clearing up in time for the evening commute. In addition, Doody said snow may not last on the ground due to mild temperatures.
“They’ll probably hover around the low thirties. They’ll be right around the freezing mark, so it’s not like it’s going to be a deep freeze.”
Temperatures are expected to get chillier over the weekend.