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PROVIDENCE — About 54,000 National Grid customers were without power as of Wednesday afternoon as a nor’easter battered the state, and the restoration effort will last days.

Some of the most heavily affected towns for outages included Barrington, Bristol, Warren, Narragansett, Little Compton, Exeter and North Kingstown.

“Crews are out working where it’s deemed safe with priority on 911 calls, wires down and critical facilities,” National Grid Rhode Island spokesman Ted Kresse said. “Like Henri, this will be a multi-day restoration effort.”

Kresse said at 9:45 a.m. that there was widespread tree damage, with winds still going strong. Outages topped out at just under 100,000 at their peak; the number fluctuated throughout Wednesday morning, but steadily declined to about half that number by 3:30 p.m.

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National Grid covers the vast majority of Rhode Island; the Pascoag Utility District in the northwest part of the state has about 5,000 of its own customers. That small utility, too, said it was dealing with outages.

The Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency said the state will have strong winds and coastal flooding throughout Wednesday, into the night and early Thursday morning.

“We urge all to stay indoors if possible, and if you can’t, remember to avoid flooded roadways and downed wires!” the agency said.

Several schools Massachusetts and Rhode Island were forced to close because of the storm.

That included the University of Rhode Island and some schools in Providence.

“As the result of lost power, the following PPSD elementary schools are closed today: Fortes-Lima, Leviton, Pleasant View, Webster & West,” Providence Public Schools tweeted. “There will not be distance learning for those schools. All other schools will be open.”


Brian Amaral can be reached at brian.amaral@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @bamaral44.