PROVIDENCE — The effects of Tropical Storm Elsa reached Rhode Island on Friday morning, with rain steadily falling over the Providence area and winds starting to pick up.
“More than anything this is a really good reminder to everyone to be ready for hurricane season,” said Clara Decerbo, director of the Providence Emergency Management Agency. “Go over your family preparedness plans, and check in with work to make sure of their plans for hurricane season. Make sure you have your kit prepared for family, loved ones, and pets. This is a good reminder that even though we do not frequently get major storms, we are certainly in the hurricane zone.”
Decerbo said Thursday that the agency is expecting two to four inches of rainfall and about a 20 percent chance of tropical-storm-force winds that are over 39 miles per hour sustained. They were expecting 40 to 55 mile per hour winds beginning Friday morning and ending by the middle of Friday afternoon.
Beth Gosslin, chief of public affairs for the US Army Corps of Engineers NE, said criteria will not be met to close the hurricane barrier. “We don’t expect any closures today,” she said
The city of Providence is in the center of #Elsa now, and rain and winds are decreasing. There is a small band to follow, but so far so good for Rhode Islanders. Now much major flooding reported, and rivers and streams are close, but not quite at flood stage in most areas. #RIwx pic.twitter.com/TeNYSorOkh— Carlos R. Munoz 📰 (@ReadCarlos) July 9, 2021
The National Weather Service on Friday morning issued a flood warning for the Pawtuxet River in Cranston, with a forecast crest near 10 feet expected in the afternoon. Around 9:30 a.m., the Weather Service upgraded all of Kent County and Providence County, including the City of Providence, to a flash flood warning, Decerbo said. Residents were being reminded not to drive through flooded areas.
“This results in flooding along Pioneer Avenue, Bellows Street, & Venturi Avenue in Warwick,” the Weather Service said. “Some homes are impacted on Avery Road and Wellington Avenue in Cranston.”
Elsewhere, the storm was being felt in South County and other parts of the state.
Just before 1 p.m., Rhode Island EMA tweeted: “The Flood Warning is extended until early Sunday afternoon for the Pawtuxet River at Cranston, affecting Providence and Kent Counties.” National Grid said the storm’s gusting winds could damage trees and knock down power lines.
“As always, we’re monitoring the forecasts closely and we have more than 1,800 personnel in place across Rhode Island and Massachusetts to respond as quickly and safely as we can,” Michael McCallan, Vice President of New England Electric Operations, said Thursday.
By 1 p.m., National Grid reported there were just a few power outages across the state.
This is a developing news story and will be updated.