Cities, towns getting ready for anticipated snowfall

CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — The weather in Southern New England has been very mild as of late, but that’s soon about to change.

According to the Pinpoint Weather Team, rain is expected to move in after 7 p.m. Thursday then change over to snow after midnight. The snow may fall heavy at times towards the start of the morning commute on Friday, so driving conditions could be slippery and dangerous.

A Winter Storm Warning is in effect for Northern Rhode Island and much of Massachusetts until 3 p.m. Friday, while the rest of Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts is under a Winter Weather Advisory. A warning calls for more snow than an advisory.

Several school districts, including Providence, announced their closures for Friday on Thursday evening. School Closings, Parking Bans: Pinpoint Closings Network »

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In anticipation of the wintry weather, city and town officials are making sure their plow crews are ready.

“We’re making sure the trucks are all set and we have material,” said Joe Bucci, acting administrator of the DOT Highway and Bridge Maintenance. “We were taking salt deliveries as late as yesterday and we just got everything ready for today.”

According to Bucci, RIDOT will be carefully monitoring the storm to determine when to send crews out on the roads.

In Cranston, officials say they are keeping an eye on the skies.

Pinpoint Weather Blog: More details on the timing of the storm »
Pinpoint Weather Blog: More details on the timing of the storm »

“Our highway crew is sharpening the blades, fueling up all of the trucks, getting ready for the snow if it comes,” said Cranston Mayor Allan Fung. “They also filled up a couple of the trucks already with a salt and sand mixture.”

Fung said crews have also been clearing storm drains after this week’s rain to make sure roads are safe and passable overnight through the morning commute.

“We are putting a parking ban in effect starting at 7 a.m. tomorrow morning,” Fung added. “We’re going to have our sanders come out at around 3 a.m. if this storm actually does start coming. We’ll monitor how much snow we get and we’ll call in the trucks and the plows depending on the accumulation.”

A number of other cities and towns have issued parking bans ahead of the anticipated snowfall. Click here for an updated list »

As with any storm, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) is encouraging drivers to take it slow in the snow and leave plenty of room for plow drivers to do their job.

Be Prepared: Winter Weather Resource Guide »
Be Prepared: Winter Weather Resource Guide »

RIDOT said the timing of the snow is going to be tricky because it is supposed to come down in the middle of the morning commute.

“The timing of this storm is significant because it definitely will impact the morning commute,” said Bucci. “That modifies things because if traffic is not moving, we’re not moving.”

As far as canceling school, Mayor Fung said it’s too early to say whether or not that’s in the cards. He said the city will be prepared for whatever may come, especially after all the snow we had to deal with last winter, and he hopes the trend of mild weather and limited snowfall continues.

“I’m knocking on as much wood as I can that this pattern holds up and it’s just a normal winter and not like last year,” said Fung. “I’m keeping both my fingers crossed that it’s just a normal year.”

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