Barrington seemed to be hunkering down Monday afternoon for the wicked sideswipe of the region by Hurricane Sandy as it began walloping the mid-Atlantic region while moving inland.
There was very little traffic on the roadways; some houses in Bay Spring and other areas of Bay Spring were boarded up; most businesses seemed to be shut down or shutting down.
Town Hall was expected to stay open until winds and rain made safety an issue, said Town Manager Peter DeAngelis Jr. The Barrington Public Library was closing at 4:30 pm, according to Debbie Barchi, library director.
Barrington Public Schools and St. Luke's School are closed for another day on Tuesday, Oct. 30.
National Grid was reporting at 4:15 pm that about 96 customers were without power.
Barrington officials were urging waterfront homeowners to keep a close eye on the water as the impact of Hurricane Sandy increases as the day goes on.
A Code Red message was sent out to all Barrington residents on Sunday evening. It asks anyone in low-lying and flood-prone areas to be aware of a high tide tonight that is expected to 4 to 7 feet above normal, said Barrington Town Manager Peter DeAngelis Jr.
“The schools also piggybacked on that to let people know schools were being closed,” he said.
Monday’s high tide at around 8:36 pm is the one that is expected to pose the most problems. With a full moon tide and the storm surge on top of that, water is anticipated to be a significant threat to lower-lying areas.
“People in flood-prone areas need to pay attention,” DeAngelis said. “We’ll be monitoring conditions all day.”
Barrington officials are not anticipating mandatory evacuations, the town manager said.
“I don’t think it will come to that,” DeAngelis said. “You can’t force people out of there homes.”
But people along the water should consider going to stay with family or friends or moving into the Red Cross-operated shelter that has opened at Primrose Hill School on Middle Highway. Cots and food are available there for anyone who evacuates.
If you need assistance, said Police Chief John LaCross, call the dispatch center. School buses are being made available and the police department has two Humvees with high ground clearance to evacuate anyone who needs some help.
But don’t wait to call or go to the shelter until it is too late, LaCross said.
The police department will double its staff of officers during the 4 to 12 shift today, said LaCross. People should stay off the roads during the evening hours if at all possible.
The public works department has sandbags and will be filling them, DeAngelis added. And a National Grid liaison has been assigned to the public works department to handle calls about power outages.
At least 8 power outages affecting approximately 40 customers in Barrington were repaired by National Grid this morning.
The outages were located in the Nayatt and Rumstick neighborhoods, town center, Hampden Meadows and near Haines Memorial State Park, according to the National Grid power outage map for Rhode Island. Click here for the map and keep track of outages yourself.
Information is reportedly updated every 15 minutes. The information includes the estimated restoration time and if a repair crew has been assigned.
Please do not call the dispatch center in the public safety building to ask when the power will be restored. Police Chief John LaCross is asking for your cooperation in this matter.
“Kindly do not call to ask when the power is coming back on,” LaCross said. “We do not know. National Grid does not tell us, and it simply ties up the dispatcher when other emergency calls -- for downed power lines, and trees on the roadway -- may be coming in.”
Last fall during Tropical Storm Irene, LaCross said, the dispatch center received hundreds of these types of calls. Dispatchers simply could not provide an answer.
You should call 911 or 401-437-3930 to report emergencies other than power outages. You need to call National Grid at 1-800-465-1212 to report a power outage.
The storm did strengthen overnight, according to the National Hurricane Center. The worst of the storm should be in Rhode Island from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., with coastal flooding and widespread loss of power — expected to be on par with last year's Hurricane Irene. Current wind gusts are between 25 and 35 miles per hour.
Stay at home today and off the roadways if possible. Schools are closed and most events have been cancelled. RIPTA service is the only thing running, but it is expected to be cancelled at some point.
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