Hurricane Irene Leaves 155,000 Customers Without Power In Rhode Island

Hurricane Irene brought heavy rain and strong winds to Rhode Island on Sunday morning and with that weather came a power outage for 155,000 National Grid customers, the state’s electricity supplier. Outages occurred after strong winds knocked trees and other objects into power lines.

The company is “working hard” to get power turned back on for customers according to National Grid spokeswoman Debbie Drew, noting that it could take hours and in some cases days to restore power among their customer base of nearly 500,000 homes.

While customers have lost power there is some good news, the storm has been downgraded to a tropic storm (previously a category 1 hurricane) in the area and no injuries or fatalities have been reported.

With 4-inches of rain expected the cities Fox Point Hurricane Barrier was closed today. Built in 1966 the 25-foot tall, 3,000 foot-long structure is meant to keep water out of the area.

Unlike many surrounding areas, officials have not called for an evacuation, however residents have been asked to take shelter at one of the cities mandatory or voluntary evacuation centers until further notice.

City officials in Providence have also banned parking on streets and all state campgrounds have been closed with campers forced to evacuate the area.

Preparing for the storm ahead of time university students at Rhode Island College and Providence College who were preparing to start classes were told to move in on Monday instead of Sunday.

Here’s a news report about the barrier closing:

If you’re in the Providence area let us know what issues you’ve run into due to the storm.