NEWS: Snow clean-up continues in Providence

Downtown Providence. Photo by WPRO's Steve Klamkin.

By Kim Kalunian, WPRO News

Clean-up efforts are still underway across the state, as crews work to clear snow from roadways and restore power to approximately 20,000 Rhode Islanders who are still in the dark.

“There’s still a lot of cleaning up to do at both the municipal level and state level,” said David Graves, spokesman for National Grid Monday morning. “And we’re still moving snow around to get to our equipment to get trees out of the way to make sure that all customers are restored.”

He said he expects most customers will have power by midnight Monday.

Snow removal, of course, has been a problem for both National Grid and individuals looking to get out of their homes.

Providence Public Safety Commissioner, Steven Pare, said they’re working to get roads cleared so people can get out of their driveways.

“Some areas are very packed with snow and you just can’t get that snow off the road with a plow, so we need heavier equipment, which we deployed yesterday,” he said Monday.

Pare said Providence was as prepared as it could have been, but the storm dumped up to 20 inches of snow in some areas, which was tricky for the city to handle.

Providence Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Director, Peter Gaynor, told Gene Valicenti on the WPRO Morning News Monday that the city is close to being back to normal.

“It’s been a long couple of days but we made some significant headway last night,” he said.

Gaynor said the blizzard-like conditions Friday night presented a challenge to snow plow crews and delayed their progress clearing streets.

“This was a pretty unique snowstorm,” he said. “I think the amount of snow, the rate it fell – it was pretty fast so we had a pretty good time trying to keep up on the main roads, and I think that put us a little behind on secondary roads.”

Gaynor said that all roads in the city should be passable, but crews are still out in the city working now to improve roadway conditions. He encourages those who live near storm drains or fire hydrants to dig them out, especially since rain is forecast for today.

Providence is also working to remove large snow banks form the sides of roads. It is no longer permissible to dump snow into the water, said Gaynor, so the larger drifts will have to be transported to a remote area.