A winter storm knocked out power to thousands, flooded roads from Westerly to Warren, and disrupted travel Friday morning, with continued impacts expected throughout the day.
The storm is bringing strong winds, significant rainfall, and coastal flooding to the state before extreme cold arrives Friday night.
Here’s what we’re tracking in Rhode Island.
Rhode Island Energy, the state’s predominant electricity utility, reported nearly 7,700 power outages as of 5 p.m. Friday. Outages and estimated restoration times can be tracked at: rienergy.com/RI-Home/outage-central/. Governor Dan McKee’s office said warming centers were available throughout the state with information available at riema.ri.gov.
Restrictions on the Newport Pell, Jamestown Verrazano, and Mount Hope bridges had been lifted as of 9:30 a.m. Friday, the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority said on Twitter. Check with the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority for updates: ritba.org/travel-alerts/
Impacts around the state
Reports of road flooding were flowing in from around the state, including Westerly, North Kingstown, Bristol, and Jamestown, on the MyCoast app, which helps people track the impact of storms.
Among those submitting reports to MyCoast was Bryan Oakley, professor and assistant department chair in Environmental Earth Science at Eastern Connecticut State University.
“The storm this morning inundated the usual low-lying areas around the region, including Watch Hill,” Oakley said in an email. “This gives a preview of the areas particularly vulnerable to sea level rise. Combined with the waves, I expect we will see frontal erosion of dunes coast-wide, and where the water overtops the shoreline we will see some overwash and washover fan deposition.”
Coastal access advocates were collecting photographs and videos on Facebook of the storm’s impact and damage along the shore.
Flooding in Providence
In Providence, the Fox Point Hurricane Barrier was closed in anticipation of the storm.
Andrew Loconto, of the National Weather Service Boston, said on Twitter that the water level there peaked at 9.2 feet at 8 a.m. thanks to a 3.79-foot storm surge, making it the ninth-highest level ever recorded at the Fox Point gauge and the highest since Hurricane Bob in 1991.
Providence Hurricane barrier is closed, and for good reason. Significant storm surge flooding ongoing in Upper Narragansett Bay. pic.twitter.com/TXqedtlGUp— Matt McDermott (@mattmfm) December 23, 2022
Fox Point Hurricane Barrier is doing its job. 1030a #riwx #weather #bombcyclone pic.twitter.com/XkUumgDBtN— Carlos R. Munoz 📰 (@ReadCarlos) December 23, 2022
The Fox Point Hurricane Barrier was engaged due to potential storm surge. It was around 5.3’ at 730a. We are approaching low tide at 109p. #riwx #weather #bombcyclone pic.twitter.com/xtFT4lF5jm— Carlos R. Munoz 📰 (@ReadCarlos) December 23, 2022
There was also moderate flooding at Quonset Point.
The Rhode Island Department of Transportation said Friday morning that part of Veterans Memorial Parkway near Kettle Point in East Providence, and Poppasquash Road and Hope Street at Washington Street in Bristol, were closed due to flooding. Hope Street in Bristol was back open later in the morning, WPRI reported.
Here’s a look at flooding at Poppasquash Rd in Bristol. Remember, never drive through floodwaters. pic.twitter.com/QJw00gOrLc— RIDOTNews (@RIDOTNews) December 23, 2022
Hood street in Bristol closed pic.twitter.com/dLydvTUKXr— Tim White (@TimWhiteRI) December 23, 2022
Areas of Warren also had flooding in spots.
Warren, RI has some flood spots. This is one on Market Street. Pretty typical here with heavy rain. Tide was still on some shorelines. #riwx #bombcyclone #rhodeisland pic.twitter.com/FtkA3RYHLI— Carlos R. Munoz 📰 (@ReadCarlos) December 23, 2022
In Narragansett, police put up barricades at the shoreline access points at Newton and Hazard avenues and Bass Rock Road because of dangerous high surf conditions, asking people to avoid venturing onto the rocks there.
Ocean Road was back open by later in the morning, although debris was in the roadway and the town was urging people to use caution.
Ocean Rd is now open. Boston Neck Rd. Is passable; water has receded but minor debris remains in roadway. Reduce speeds and use caution. pic.twitter.com/UZ8gqLyH9W— Narragansett EMA (@NarragansettEMA) December 23, 2022
Big, big waves 🌊 at Narragansett Beach. #riwx #rhodeisland pic.twitter.com/RHDCvkwwjW— Carlos R. Munoz 📰 (@ReadCarlos) December 23, 2022
South Kingstown police also reported road closures due to flooding.
FLOODING ALERT: Succotash Road is closed to Jerusalem traffic at the Matunuck Oyster Bar and Middlebridge Road is closed on both sides of the Narrow River. Please stay home if you can and do not drive into flood waters. #ServingSK pic.twitter.com/dRvNeMt3b3— South Kingstown Police Department (@SKingstownPD) December 23, 2022
Cleanup was underway at the Coast Guard House in Narragansett, NBC10′s Liz Bateson reported.
Clean up begins at the @Coastguardhouse.— Liz Bateson (@LizBatesonTV) December 23, 2022
The co-owner tells me they lost some shingles and some water got inside the restaurant. Surprisingly enough, the igloos did not tip over!
They have power and will be open today. @NBC10 pic.twitter.com/oR9u8aFhNd
The MyCoast app is hoppin right now, including these pics from Westerly and Warren (respectively) pic.twitter.com/Ff3mKJ32dk— Brian Amaral (@bamaral44) December 23, 2022
In Westerly, the Windjammer Surf Bar posted videos of a flooded roadway.
The storm surge during Friday morning’s high tide left debris at Island Park Beach in Portsmouth, where cleanup was underway.
Portsmouth Police advised people in town to avoid Park Avenue.
🚨 Traffic Advisory 🚨— Portsmouth Police RI (@PortsmouthPDRI) December 23, 2022
Please avoid Park Ave until further notice. @RIDOTNews currently has Park Ave at Aquidneck Ave blocked, Boyd’s Ln at Norseman Drive blocked and Park Ave at Schultzy’s blocked.
If you need to get in, or get out of Island Park, please use the Hummocks End pic.twitter.com/4m2K8jzZIv
PSA: Water Street in East Greenwich is not passable. Please do NOT attempt to drive through it. pic.twitter.com/bo0h7hCWtn— IAFF Local 3328 (@IAFFLocal3328) December 23, 2022
This story has been updated with reports of coastal flooding from around Rhode Island.
Brian Amaral can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @bamaral44. Carlos Muñoz can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @ReadCarlos and on Instagram @Carlosbrknews.