By Emily Greenhalgh
PBN Web Editor
(Updated, 4:30 p.m.)
PROVIDENCE – With more than 110,000 still without power, Rhode Islanders are working to repair the damage inflicted by Hurricane Sandy.
As of 3:45 p.m., National Grid’s website reported 110,534 residents without power. In Bristol County, Mass., 17,155 customers were without power.
Before the storm hit, Rhode Island issued mandatory evacuations for low-lying parts of Bristol, Charlestown, East Providence Middletown, Narragansett, Newport, South Kingstown, Tiverton and Westerly. Some residents in Newport, Portsmouth and the Oaklawn Beach area of Warwick were also urged to move to higher ground. As of 10:30 a.m., there was still not a total count of how many residents were evacuated, according to the state’s Joint Information Center.
The shelter at the Warwick Veterans Memorial High School closed on Tuesday at 4 p.m. and the city’s Oakland Beach, Conimicut Point Park, Rocky Point and City Park have reopened.
The Roger William Park Zoo was excited to let everyone know that both the Zoo and the Jack-O-Lantern spectacular will reopen on Wednesday, Oct. 31, in time for Halloween. The intricate pumpkin art was stored indoors for the storm. The city of Newport issued a statement assuring residents and potential visitors that it was open for business as usual. The Breakers, The Elms, Marble House, Rosecliff and Chateau-sur-Mer opened at noon on Tuesday.
Throughout the day on Tuesday, Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee toured the storm-damaged communities in southern Rhode Island. Chafee’s schedule includes the Coast Guard House/Ocean Road area of Narragansett, Matunuck, Charlestown and Misquamicut.
More than 50 feet of coastline was washed away from the Misquamicut area, news sources report. Many cottages at Roy Carpenter’s Beach were either washed away or suffered severe damage. The Joint Information Center declined to say which Rhode Island areas suffered the most damage until it had completed an official assessment.
The R.I. Emergency Management Agency issued safety warnings as Rhode Island residents, municipalities and emergency crews work to remove debris. RIEMA recommended worker wear sturdy boots and leather gloves to protect against nails and glass as well as long pants to protect against cuts, scraps and animal bites. They also recommended face masks, safety goggles and a hard hat as well as an updated tetanus vaccination.
The emergency group reminded residents to never approach a downed power line, but rather assume the line is still live. In spite of fallen tree limbs, RIEMA also asked residents not to attempt chainsaw use if they did not have training or experience using one.
Although the storm has passed, the majority of Rhode Island schools were closed Tuesday in light of power outages and debris. All colleges and universities in the state also canceled classes for Tuesday, except for the New England Institute of Technology, which held classes at its Warwick campus only. As of 4:15, according to Turnto10.com’s listing of school cancelations, only Narragansett and South Kingstown have canceled school on Wednesday. The list of colleges and universities was not updated.
All non-essential state offices and agencies were closed for the first shift on Tuesday, with only essential state employees reporting to work. The U.S. District Court for Rhode Island also stayed closed on Tuesday.