RIEMA urges workers to head home before storm worsens

THE GREATER PROVIDENCE Chamber of Commerce is urging businesses to let workers head home as soon as possible, as roads may become impassable by the normal evening commute.
Posted 2/8/13

PROVIDENCE – With Nor’easter Nemo slated to drop up to two feet of snow on parts of the Ocean State, the R.I. Emergency Management Agency is urging businesses in the city to let workers head home as soon as possible.

Snow accumulation – which started mid-morning – could reach between 4 to 5 inches by the evening commute. According to the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce, officials from the R.I. Emergency Management Agency are advising businesses that “traveling this afternoon places you and your employees at the risk of being stranded.”

The city of Providence’s parking ban went into effect at noon and RIPTA service was suspended.

Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee closed state government at 1 p.m. and has issued a state of emergency.

Anticipated weather impacts from winter storm Nemo include bands of heavy snow beginning from 2 to 4 p.m. on Friday, with snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches per hour likely from Friday night through mid-day Saturday.

“Motorists are asked to stay off the roads if possible during the height of the storm,” said the Chamber in a release, adding that vehicle travel late this afternoon may prove “impossible.”

“We are recommending that people be off the roads by noon,” RIEMA spokesperson Anne-Marie Beadsworth told Providence Business News.

The National Weather Service issued a warning saying that the strongest winds and heaviest snow are anticipated by the evening commute into Saturday and will be especially focused along the I-95 corridor.

Doing their part to help prepare for the rapidly oncoming storm, U.S. Sens. Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and U.S. Reps. James R. Langevin and David N. Cicilline are urging the federal government to make federal assistance available in Rhode Island, if requested, to support emergency operations and recovery.

In a letter, written Friday, the delegates urged President Barack Obama to approve any requested federal assistance to help defray costs of any emergency protective measures.

“With significant fiscal constraints, the state will be challenged to respond to this scale of disaster without federal assistance. We have appreciated your recognition of this fact in your prompt issuance of emergency and disaster declarations for past storms and ask that you give every consideration to our state’s needs in this emergency,” said the letter.

The Rhode Island Blood Center, which supplies and manages all blood inventory for the hospitals in Rhode Island, Attleboro, Fall River, New Bedford and Cape Cod, said it has assessed supplies and that there is an adequate blood supply to carry hospitals through the weekend and beyond.

“Once we reopen on Sunday, we are encouraging blood donors, particularly platelet donors, to consider donating to help replenish the blood supply,” the Blood Center said in a release.

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