Greater City Providence

Providence EMA urges residents to prepare for Hurricane Irene

Hurricane Irene storm track

Hurricane Irene possible track. From The Weather Channel.

Now that we’ve recovered from the earthquake, it is getting time for us to pay attention to Hurricane Irene. I’ve been hanging on Fred Campagna’s every Tweet as I normally do when a weather events is impending.

There are 14 computer models on this map. 10 of them have landfall between Bridgeport, CT and Chatham, MA. Most… than a minute ago via Facebook Favorite Retweet Reply

Over the last day, the Tweets and other weather forecasts having been showing Irene setting her sights on Southern New England. Talks of a “Bob-like” or “Carol-like” track certainly should make us all take note.

Possible tracks of Hurricane Irene

Hurricane Irene possible tracks through the New York and Boston-Providence Metropolitan areas. From The Weather Channel.

As the storm approaches, the Providence Emergency Management Agency has advice for preparing for the storm.

August 24, 2011

Residents Advised to Prepare for Hurricane Irene Storm System

Heavy rain and high winds from the storm could cause damage, possible flooding over the weekend

PROVIDENCE – Mayor Angel Taveras and Providence Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) Director Peter T. Gaynor are advising residents to be prepared for the potential arrival of Hurricane Irene. Although the hurricane is expected to lessen in intensity as it approaches New England on Sunday morning, remnants from the storm could bring high winds of 60 to 80 mph and heavy rain that could cause flooding. Weather forecasts are ongoing and Irene’s track may change over the next 48 hours. Residents are encouraged to monitor news broadcasts for up-to-date storm information.

City officials are also advising residents to secure any lawn furniture, outdoor decorations, trash cans, hanging plants or anything else that could become airborne in heavy winds. Mariners are advised to avoid any activity on the water; especially offshore rip currents and strong seas are expected.

The Department of Public Works has stockpiled sandbags and crews are checking storm drains to ensure that they are clear of debris. Officials will also closely monitor areas prone to flooding and work closely with the Army Corps of Engineers, the federal agency responsible for operating the Fox Point Hurricane Barrier.

Some helpful tips to ensure residents are prepared for the first 72 hours:

Create an emergency kit

  • 72-hour supply of water (at least 3 gallons per person for drinking and sanitation) and non-perishable food
  • First Aid kit
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio
  • Flashlight and plenty of batteries (avoid using candles)
  • Warm blanket or sleeping bag for each person
  • Extra clothing
  • Pet food
  • Books, puzzles, games or other activities for children

Create a family plan

  • Make sure everyone knows where to find the emergency supply kit
  • Determine the best escape route for your home
  • Plan where to meet if family members are separated or if your home becomes unsafe
  • Designate an out-of-area person as the contact person for family members
  • Duplicate important documents like insurance information and social security cards and keep them off site

In the event of flooding, stay away from floodwaters. If you come upon a flooded road, turn around and go another way. Also, avoid downed power lines and immediately contact National Grid, (800) 322-3223. Report any fallen branches that pose a danger to the Fire Department at 274-3344. In the event of an emergency, call 911.

Continuity of Operations for businesses
PEMA has partnered with NEDRIX, a non-profit organization that provides crisis management assistance to local businesses. NEDRIX, through the partnership with PEMA, will help improve emergency connectivity and notification between businesses and Providence City government to help companies stay up and running during a disaster. To sign up for NEDRIX, visit

Online emergency alert system
Residents and businesses are also encouraged to sign up for an online emergency notification system called FLASHbrief that provides instant alerts of emergencies with the click of the mouse. Once the free, FLASHbrief software has been downloaded onto the individual’s computer, PEMA will have the ability to send instant emergency alerts about hurricanes or other emergency disasters.

To get connected, visit and click on FLASHbrief for Government and Citizens: Get Connected Here. Then enter “Rhode Island,” “Providence County,” and “Providence” in the appropriate fields and click “download.” A FLASHbrief icon will appear on the lower, right-hand corner of the computer screen.

Reverse 911
In the event of an imminent threat, PEMA also has the ability to activate its Reverse 911 system to quickly contact residents by phone and inform them of the steps they should take.

For more information on how you can stay prepared, visit PEMA at or at

It has been a long time or never since most Rhode Islanders have been through a hurricane, and the most recent weak hurricanes and tropical storms that have brushed through the area have added to a laissez-faire attitude amongst Rhode Islanders about the risk.

People should at the very least be prepared for extended power outages and clear their yards of items that could become airborne in high winds.

I will be spending part of Friday buying batteries, non-perishable food, and beer. Just in case.

Channel 12’s printable shopping list.

Jef Nickerson

Jef is Greater City Providence's co-founder, editor, and publisher. He grew up on Cape Cod and lived in Boston; Portland, Maine; and New York before settling in Providence. In addition to urbanism, Jef is interested in art, design, and ice cream. Please feel free to contact Jef if you have any question or comments about Greater City Providence.

1 comment

  • It’s going to be a little wind and a little rain. Just keep about 5 to 10 gallons of fresh water around, and enough food to last a ew days.

    If you have a grill, stock up on charcoal or gas.

Providence, RI
5:13 am8:12 pm EDT
Feels like: 61°F
Wind: 6mph NNE
Humidity: 93%
Pressure: 29.89"Hg
UV index: 0
75°F / 54°F
81°F / 57°F
79°F / 61°F