WEATHER: Chafee optimistic state will be back to normal Monday

By Kim Kalunian, WPRO News

Governor Lincoln Chafee told Gene Valicenti on the WPRO Morning News Saturday that he is hopeful the state will return to business as usual by Monday.

"I'm optimistic by Monday things will be back to normal," he said. "I hope so."

Chafee has been surveying conditions around the state, and told Gene he has seen many cars stranded on highway on-ramps. He said some of the main arteries are clear, but the ramps still have snow on them, which makes travel nearly impossible.

"It's a bad storm, Gene," he said, urging people to stay off the roads.

As of 7:18 a.m. Friday, National Grid was reporting 187,213 customers without power — "customers" can sometimes refer to homes or buildings that house multiple people. By Chafee's estimates, half of Rhode Island's population is without power.

To help with the restoration, Chafee has 400 National Guard members currently on duty, and said he will be calling in the reserves.

He hopes that as daylight breaks, neighbors will check on neighbors and help each other out.

"We've all just got to pitch in," he said.

Although emergency shelters are set up aruond the state, Chafee said the problem is getting people to them, again saying the travel ban that is still in effect is "the most important thing."

Chafee said the state was well-prepared for the blizzard, but the conditions themselves were severe.

"We couldn't have been better prepared, it's just a big storm," he said.

He hopes as the storm ends, things will get back to normal for Rhode Islanders.

"The storm's supposed to subside soon, by noontime, and everybody's going to be working hard," he said.

Residents are reminded to call 911 for emergencies and  211 for non-life threatening problems. 

For detailed forecasts and up-to-the-minute closings and information, visit our Operation Snowball page.