2018-03-08 / Front Page

MARCH MADNESS

450 homes lose power during Friday’s storm
BY TIM RIEL


The nor’easter Friday downed about two dozen trees throughout town, including this pine that fell onto the Island Scoop on North Road. The nor’easter Friday downed about two dozen trees throughout town, including this pine that fell onto the Island Scoop on North Road. A violent nor’easter pummeled Jamestown Friday, dropping nearly 3 inches of rain while spitting gusts of wind north of 60 mph.

According to Police Chief Ed Mello, there were about 25 downed trees, two basement fires and 450 homes without power during the downpour, which had spurts of snow but no accumulation. Flooding also bisected North Road at Great Creek because of high seas. Fortunately, however, there were no major injuries related to the weather, Mello said.

The storm, which tore through the East Coast leaving eight dead in its wake, including a 72-year-old Newport man, forced the closure of the Pell Bridge to all traffic for two hours in the early afternoon. This followed a previous closure of the westbound lanes that morning after a container truck toppled in the wind.


Power was lost in the north end after this tree crashed onto power lines on East Shore Road. All power was restored by Tuesday morning. 
PHOTOS BY ANDREA VON HOHENLEITEN Power was lost in the north end after this tree crashed onto power lines on East Shore Road. All power was restored by Tuesday morning. PHOTOS BY ANDREA VON HOHENLEITEN Transportation to the island hit another snag when the state bridge authority ordered a restriction on “high-profile vehicles” from crossing the Verrazzano Bridge. Because this included buses, parents were responsible for getting their children from North Kingstown and Narragansett high schools.

Another nor’easter was forecast to hit the Northeast yesterday, although details about that storm were unknown at press time.

The fires, both electrical, erupted in basements in the Ferry Meadows neighborhood, including 23 Conanicus Ave., one of the iconic Three Sisters cottages. Fire Chief Jim Bryer could not say if the storm was responsible, but noted the coincidental timing of the incidents.

“The power lines went down on Lincoln Street and those houses are on that grid,” he said.


A wind gust from the nor’easter Friday knocked down this firebox in the garden at the museum on the side of the fire station on Narragansett Avenue. 
PHOTO BY ANDREA VON HOHENELEITEN A wind gust from the nor’easter Friday knocked down this firebox in the garden at the museum on the side of the fire station on Narragansett Avenue. PHOTO BY ANDREA VON HOHENELEITEN According to Bryer, firefighters extinguished the first blaze in about 90 minutes without incident. While National Grid was working on the downed lines, however, a second fire erupted. No alarm was triggered, Bryer said, but luckily the utility workers noticed the flames and called 911. Because this was shortly after the first blaze, firefighters still were at the station unloading their gear, which allowed for a quick response. Bryer called it a blessing.

“It’s a really old house exposed to the northeast breeze,” he said. “If National Grid wasn’t on scene to call, we might still be fighting it.”

Town Engineer Mike Gray said the community is reaping the benefits of having a bucket truck in its arsenal, which allows crews to trim trees from the power lines. He said homeowners, however, should be just as diligent.

“It’s important that everybody takes a good, hard look at the trees on their properties,” he said. “We were looking at 50 mph winds during this last storm. A day without power is one thing, but hurricane winds could cripple us for a week. A single tree could wreck three poles’ worth of power. If there is a problem tree on your property, it should be addressed. We have plenty of certified arborists in town.”

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