NEWS: Chafee says state was “well-prepared” for the storm

Photo by WPRO's Steve Klamkin

By Kim Kalunian, WPRO News

Governor Lincoln Chafee hosted a briefing Sunday morning at 11:30 at the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency. He said he was pleased with the good "team effort, communication and coordination" between those working to keep Rhode Islanders safe during and after the storm.

"We were well-prepared for this storm," he said.

Chafee said he foresees some schools being cancelled tomorrow, since low temperatures will combine with a light rain. In addition to worrying about the safe travel of school buses in those conditions, Chafee said some schools do not have power yet.

Chafee said his biggest concerns now, as they have been all along, are restoring power and getting heat back to residents.

Chafee said he has not heard of anyone that was injured or harmed overnight due to the combination of low temperatures and a lack of electricity.

Chafee said National Grid and the Department of Transporation are working hard to ensure that power is restored to all Rhode Islanders promptly. At last count, about 70,000 customers were still without electricity, a number that has been steadily dropping since Saturday night.

"We're seeing progress every hour," he said. On Saturday morning, the number of power outages peaked at around 182,000 customers.

"Last night I was not too happy about the lack of progress as we approached that cold night," he said about the outages. He said now the outage number is "dropping all the time.""

"I'm hearing good things from the cities and towns," he said.

Chafee said it's hard to believe that just 24 hours ago the storm was tapering off. 

"We were never overwhelmed," he said of the storm, adding that other areas, like parts of Connecticut, got larger amounts of snow than Rhode Island did.

Chafee said they haven't tabulated the financial impact of the storm.

"We haven't added up the dollars and cents yet," he said.

However, by declaring a State of Emergency, which Chafee did Friday, Rhode Island will be able to take advantage of federal relief funds.

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