RIEMA Director: ‘Plan on losing power today’

CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) – The head of the R.I. Emergency Management Agency said Thursday the possibility of power outages remains a key concern as state officials monitor a major winter storm making its way toward the region.

“Plan to have a safe place to go should you lose power,” Peter Gaynor, RIEMA’s executive director, said during a live interview on Eyewitness News This Morning. “Plan on losing power today, and if you don’t, that’s a good thing. But plan for the worst and hope overall it ends well.”

The concern is especially high for people who depend on their electricity working to heat their homes, since frigid temperatures are expected to follow in the storm’s wake.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker offered a similar warning at a briefing Thursday morning. He urged residents to make sure their electronic devices are fully charged in case they lose power.

The State Emergency Operations Center at RIEMA’s facility in Cranston was activated at 2 a.m. to monitor the storm, Gaynor said. Gov. Gina Raimondo has ordered state offices closed and asked businesses to let workers stay home.

Gaynor warned that conditions are expected to deterioriate rapidly later Thursday morning as the storm intensifies. “It’s going to be a miserable day today,” he said.

Gaynor said the state is confident there is enough equipment available to clear the roads, but residents are asked to remain off them to allow crews to do their work.

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