Raimondo: No plans to call a state of emergency in RI because of storm

CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) – Gov. Gina Raimondo said Thursday afternoon she currently has no plans to call a state of emergency in Rhode Island due to the snowstorm.

“At this point I have not declared a state of emergency,” Raimondo said during a noon news conference at the R.I. Emergency Management Agency headquarters.

Raimondo said she has ordered a “limited deployment” of the National Guard to run backup emergency warming centers, and has also banned tractor-trailer trucks from state roads between noon and 9 p.m. to assist plow drivers and emergency personnel.

“I’m monitoring it, so if we were to see the weather forecast change, if we were to see mass outages, if we were to see massive power outages and a need to evacuate, then I would reconsider and declare a state of emergency,” Raimondo said.

The governors of Massachusetts and Connecticut also had declined to declare a state of emergency as of early Thursday afternoon. Raimondo has previously said that having Rhode Island declare one without those states following suit could cause logistical problems.

“At this point I don’t see that to be necessary,” Raimondo said. “Also, having been out on the roads, people are heeding the call to stay home, and as long as people stay off the roads we can continue to plow. I don’t think it’s necessary.”

Raimondo has only declared a state of emergency once – in January 2015, during her first month in office, because of the winter storm nicknamed “Juno.”

The governor’s decision did not sit well with some residents. A number of commenters on WPRI 12’s Facebook page argued she should declare a state of emergency, with some suggesting it was the only way their family’s employers would allow them to stay home during the storm.

Susan Campbell contributed to this report.