WARWICK, R.I. (WLNE) – Rhode Island is bracing for its first major snow storm of the season and it’s no easy effort planning for nearly a foot of snow.
Public safety workers across the state were up bright and early loading salt into their trucks and prepping the roads for ice as drivers like Anthony Baffoni hauled salt from city to city, unloading them into salt piles.
“We’re hauling salt in from the Providence port to the Warwick city,” Anthony Baffoni with Wesco said. “I guess everybody is in a little bit of a panic today, so we’ll be busy all day and maybe into the night.”
With each trip, the pile grows. Crews will use it to de-ice the roads, but Baffoni says people should still plan to stay home.
“Get your stuff done because you’re not going to be out tomorrow,” Baffoni said. “Same old, do what you have to do. We should be used to it now!”
Marc Happas, the State’s EMA Director says while snow isn’t new to New England, COVID and the pause do bring challenges.
“Tents up for restaurants are a big deal, so we want to make sure that any temporary structures are either socked down or taken down,” Happas said. “Salt was a big question yesterday from the locals and right now there doesn’t appear to be any shortage for the state or look to be any supply chain issues.”
Happas says EMA opened up their emergency operations center, but virtually. They’re on calls with cities and towns all day long making sure they’re ready to go and cautioning people to stay home and don’t travel, especially as hospitals are full.
“The alternate hospital sites are up in Providence and here in Cranston, so crossing fingers that doesn’t happen,” Happas said. “But, if there’s an overload, there’s the capacity to make up for space that’s taken up.”
Happas says there are currently no travel bans and if that changes, it will be announced early this afternoon.
There are also parking bans in some cities, including Warwick. Starting at 5:00 p.m., anyone parked on city streets will need to move their cars to make way for snow plows.