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Hurricane Sandy Updates – Tuesday, Oct. 30

Day three of our hurricane coverage will focus on the aftermath.

7:51 p.m. – Elizabeth McNamara, our East Greenwich Patch local editor, spent her afternoon in Kingston. Here are some notes from her:

- At URI, classes will resume tomorrow, Oct. 31. 

Power was out at the Cumberland Farms at Kingston Emporium, but they were open "dawn to dusk" – cash only, no perishables.

The traffic lights were out at Upper College and 138.

- Melissa Branch on Northup Street lost a tree in her front yard: "I've got great neighbors. They got fire wood and I got the tree out of my driveway!"

A photo can be seen in our gallery.

- Lauren and Adam Spink, at 68 High Street, were inside their house when the large tree in their front yard fell over, hitting the house.

"We heard the roots in the basement," Adam, a contractor, said. "It raked the house so hard you couldn't get out." 

Their neighbor had to help open the back door, Adam said.

Said Lauren of the tree: "I thought it was just going to keep going."

Lauren, a teacher at Narragansett Elementary School, said she called their insurance company all day but still hadn't been able to reach anyone, and the same with National Grid. The tree took down lines on the Highland Avenue side of the house, but they weren't live wires.

"It was pretty real," Adam said. 

5:56 p.m. – If your kids are going psycho-crazy nuts in the darkness, Jackie has some tips for them.

Also, the Rhode Island Emergency Management wanted to pass along these post-storm safety tips:

As storm cleanup and restoration efforts begin, the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency (RIEMA) urges all Rhode Islanders to take the necessary precautions to ensure their safety. 

The storm has passed; however, there are still strong currents and riptides. Water conditions are a danger to swimmers, surfers, boaters and to onlookers. Onlookers standing on rocks, jetties, or sea walls can easily be washed off the rocks by the powerful surf.

Extended power outages and flood waters can jeopardize the safety of the food you eat and the water you drink. During a power outage, avoid opening refrigerators and freezers. If the power is out for more than four hours, throw away meat, poultry, fish, soft cheeses, milk, eggs, deli items, and any leftovers.

If the temperature in the freezer goes below 41 degrees, throw away any food that is in the freezer. Many times, you cannot see, smell, or taste bacteria in food that could make you sick. When in doubt, throw it out!

Public drinking water systems regularly monitor drinking water for possible contaminants and bacteria and will continue to do so. For information on water quality, visit www.health.ri.gov/news/drinkingwaterquality/index.php

Do not trust that drinking water from flooded private wells is safe. Private wells that have flooded (wells that have standing water around them) should be considered contaminated. People with flooded wells should take the following precautions:

  • Boil water for one minute before drinking, cooking, and brushing teeth.
  • Get well water tested for coliform bacteria as soon as possible. Lab tests usually take about three days, but it may take longer for you to get the results depending on which lab you use. Continue to boil water until you get your test results back and the water has been deemed safe for consumption.
  • Once flood waters have receded, your well will need to be disinfected with chlorine and tested before you begin drinking it again.

Damaging winds and storm surges have downed numerous power lines and trees, many along roadways. Drivers should proceed with caution in order to avoid any debris on the roadway.  If large debris such as power lines or tree limbs is in the way, do not attempt to drive through it. Seek an alternate route, and contact officials to provide the location of the debris so that it can be removed from the roadway.

Pedestrians encountering any downed power lines should assume that they are live. Do not touch them or try to move them.

Anyone who is using a generator during a power outage should make sure that the generator was installed by a licensed professional. Never use a generator inside, and follow all manufacturer instructions when using it.

For regularly updated information on the response to Hurricane Sandy, visit www.riema.ri.gov or visit 211.

4:59 p.m.: ABC 6 is reporting that a South Kingstown man – Kevin P. Brown – was fatally stabbed during the hurricane.

For their story, click here. The Westerly Sun has also written about this – their article is here.

On Marriott Avenue in Westerly on Monday, Brown allegedly got into an argument with Mandell W. Tripp, a Westerly resident. During the argument, Westerly Police said Tripp stabbed Brown.

Brown left the residence and then crashed his car into a tree at about 1:43 p.m. Monday, at which point police and fire responded. Westerly Police have charged Tripp with second-degree murder.

4:43 p.m.: RIEMA has distributed these tips for removing your yard of debris:

Now that Hurricane Sandy has passed, many municipalities and individuals are faced with removing debris from the storm. RIEMA reminds Rhode Islanders of the following safety measures to keep in mind when undertaking post-storm cleanup efforts:

  • Wear sturdy work boots with sole protection against injuries from nails and glass.
  • Wear long pants to protect yourself from cuts, scrapes, and animal bites.
  • Wear leather work gloves to minimize injuries from shattered glass or sharp edges.
  • Use an N-95 face mask to protect your lungs from fiberglass and other airborne debris. (Masks can be purchased at home supply stores.)
  • Wear safety goggles to prevent eye injuries.
  • Wear a hard hat to guard against head injuries from falling objects.
  • Make sure you are up to date on your tetanus vaccination.
  • Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.

Downed Power Lines

  • Assume that any downed power line is live.
  • Do not touch it or attempt to move it. Downed power lines can sometimes still be energized from the feedback from electrical energy or from a secondary power source, such as a portable generator.

Chain Saw Safety

  • Do not attempt to use a chain saw if you have not had training or experience with using one.
  • Wear personal protective equipment such as goggles, hard hats, and chainsaw chaps. Do not wear loose-fitting clothing.
  • Clear away dirt, debris, small tree limbs and rocks from the saw's chain path. Check for nails, spikes or other metal in the tree before cutting.
  • Keep your hands on the saw's handles, and maintain secure footing while operating the saw.
  • Maintain awareness of the surroundings. Be careful that the trunk or the tree limbs will not bind against the saw. Branches under tension could spring loose when cut.
  • Gasoline-powered chain saws must be equipped with a protective device that minimizes chain saw kickback. To avoid kickback, do not saw with the tip, and keep tip guard in place.
  • Shut off the saw or engage its chain brake when carrying the saw on rough or uneven terrain.

For regularly updated information on Hurricane Sandy response efforts, visit www.riema.ri.gov or call 211.

2:10 p.m. – Narragansett schools are now also closed. I’ve also received word that there is no school for Prout.

1:55 p.m. – South Kingstown public schools are closed for Wednesday. I haven’t received any word from Narragansett yet, but I imagine the chances are good, since most of the town is still without power.

I also received an e-mail from Maury Loontjens Memorial Library – They will be closed until they get power back. When that happens, they will be open for normal business hours.

1:28 p.m. – The Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency released the following statement:

RIEMA reports today that first responders and emergency management staff has turned their focus to assessing and responding to impacts from the storm that hit Rhode Island this week.

“We’d like to thank all Rhode Islanders, municipalities, and state and community partners for taking steps to prepare for Hurricane Sandy,” said RIEMA Executive Director Theresa C. Murray. “Cooperation and adherence to pre-storm recommendations helped to assure that Rhode Islanders are safe today. It truly takes a whole community to mount an effective incident response. Now, we can focus our efforts on assessing the storm-related damage.”

At daybreak, due to many fallen limbs and trees that have downed power lines, an estimated 115,000 Rhode Island customers were without power. The majority of outages are in southern Rhode Island in coastal communities. National Grid crews are out in full force today and have begun clearing debris and restoring power.  

Rhode Island State Police report that many traffic lights were out at a number of intersections. State Police are directing traffic at locations in Bristol, Middletown, and Westerly. To find out which roads may be closed or have limited access, call 511 or visit 511@dot.ri.gov  

Other state partners are engaged in the process of assessment, repairs, and cleanup. The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management is checking on terminals in the ports of Providence and Quonset Point. The Coast Guard is inspecting the federal waterways and ports so that safe maritime traffic can resume.

There have been no reports of serious accidents or injuries.

The Coast Guard received a report of an elderly couple marooned at the Watch Hill Lighthouse. The Coast Guard was unable to reach the couple; however, they helped them access the upper levels of the lighthouse in an effort to keep them safe during the storm.

Ten shelters remain open at various locations across the state. For a complete listing of available shelters, visit www.riema.ri.gov. The Red Cross reported 92 people stayed overnight at a shelter.

12:20 p.m. – Time for the afternoon update!

  • The City of Newport has issued a press release stating that all of its businesses and bridges are open, for the most part. I’ve also taken a drive down Main Street and Old Tower Hill Road in Wakefield, and most businesses are open there as well.
  • Unfortunately, the same isn’t true for Matunuck or Narragansett. They wouldn’t let me into Matunuck, and they’re severely limiting access, mostly to emergency crews and residents, because of the extensive damage.
  • In Narragansett, there is essentially no power in the main parts of town. There are hundreds, maybe thousands of people down by the sea wall, but they’re walking on foot from several streets over. Parking on Ocean Road, Boon Street and the other surrounding streets is limited.
  • I haven’t yet been able to get down to Galilee or the URI Campus. Right now, I’m recharging my laptop battery thanks to the generosity of Jonathan Pincince – He’s open his law office up to anyone needing a quick recharge. He’s at Beal Law, 135 Main Street in Wakefield.
  • I’ve updated the story with a couple photos from Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, who toured Matunuck earlier today with Governor Lincoln Chafee and Lt. Governor Elizabeth Roberts. The damage there looks extensive, unfortunately.
  • There is still no timetable for electricity restoration on the National Grid website. However, I did see several crews out in my travels, so they are working on it.

I’m going to scour Twitter and some other sources for information and pictures while the rest of my laptop battery charges, get some lunch, and then head back out – I will probably try to hit up Galilee and Great Island, if I can.

8:50 a.m. – Hello everyone! Hopefully if you’re reading this, you and your family have made it through the storm safe and sound.

The worst of it definitely seems to be over for Rhode Island, since as I type, the sun is out and I can hear birds. You’d never even know that there was a storm, except that half the forest is strewn about my yard.

Anyway, tackling the questions I’ve gotten the last 12 hours in order of popularity:

- National Grid said at about 8 p.m. Monday night that work couldn’t begin on power restoration until Tuesday morning because of the high winds. High winds mean it’s unsafe for bucket truck operators to work, plus, there’s a good chance any fixes would be immediately undone.

As far as I can tell, from their online outages map, there is currently no timetable on power restoration. However, some people out near Bonnet Shores have reported that their power has snapped back on this morning, suggesting that there are crews out there.

About 116,000 customers in Rhode Island are without power. Washington and Newport counties were the hardest hit, with power loss rates exceeding 50 percent. Providence, Kent and Bristol County have much lower rates.

About 75 percent of homes in Narragansett and South Kingstown are without power, but it could be worse – In Charlestown, only six of National Grid’s 5,734 customers have power.

If you’re looking for new best friends who didn’t lose power, check out Saunderstown, the west passage / Petta Lake near the URI Bay Campus, and the more inland portion of South Kingstown.

- According to a press release from Narragansett Police Captain William McGovern, Ocean Road is covered in debris, and remains closed to the public. A portion of the sea wall by South Pier Road and Monahan’s was destroyed last night.

Because of the high surf, McGovern said the Coast Guard House was extensively damaged, but it does remain standing, contrary to an Internet rumor. (The same thing goes for the Ocean Mist in Matunuck, by the way.)

There is also extensive debris on Beach Street and Boston Neck Road, and as a result, they have also been closed. A full list of closed streets, due to either damage or flooding:

  • Ocean Road will remain closed from Earles Court to Beach Street, including all side streets east of Boon Street
  • Beach Street
  • Boston Neck Road from Beach Street north to the Dunes Club
  • Foddering Farm Road at the Causeway
  • Bonnet Point Road at the Causeway
  • Sections of Colonel John Gardner Road
  • Middlebridge Road from Old Boston Neck to Middlebridge with no access over the bridge

We have not received as much information about South Kingstown and specifically Matunuck, but as far as we know, it remains off-access for cars, similar to the aftermath of Irene.

- If you’re looking for all of our photos and coverage from yesterday, click here. Thanks to everyone for sharing things on Twitter!

If you have something you’d like to see on the site today, send it to Narragansett@patch.com or Stephen.greenwell@patch.com, or to my Twitter account, GansettPatch. (I do monitor the SK Patch Twitter as well, but the Gansett Patch tweets go straight to my phone.)

Also, once again to remind people – You can upload directly to this story with your Patch account! Hit the “upload photo” button at the top.

I’ll be driving around today, looking for places that suffered damage, so feel free to send an e-mail if you have a suggestion. As a result, the updates won’t be as fast and frequent as they were during the storm yesterday.

Stephen Greenwell October 31, 2012 at 04:53 AM
NOTE: Please save comments and uploads for our next story, which will be available at this link - http://patch.com/A-zh4V - Starting at 5:30 a.m. EST Wednesday.
Judith Zaiko October 31, 2012 at 08:47 AM
Erin do you have any more info on the rest of green hill beach I go there every wekk in the fall the little house that sticks out the the bkue /white lady ship head out front I am coming to get the owner asap she is 83 yo and doesn't have a lot of info we know the underneath sheds are gone but not much more than Judy Zaiko judith.zaiko@yahoo.com Thanks
Stephen Greenwell October 31, 2012 at 10:49 AM
Hi Judy - I forwarded your comment on to Erin, since the e-mail notification system we usually have is a bit wonky, thanks to the traffic surge because of the hurricane.
Louise Quintiliani October 31, 2012 at 02:11 PM
Supposedly 23 comments on this story, but I can't see any of them.
Stephen Greenwell October 31, 2012 at 03:40 PM
Hi Louise, I'm not sure why that is. I know that because of the heavy site usage, we are having some stress-load related problems, unfortunately.

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