Police warn to take care before flooding, flash-freeze

Wet, puddling roads in Providence. (Photo by Kait Walsh) | WPRI.com

CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — From the looks and sounds of Friday morning, it might have appeared the rain due this weekend had already started. Not quite.

The roads were already wet on Fletcher Avenue in Cranston, notorious for flooding when water overwhelms the Pocasset River.

Green grass had reappeared, thanks to rising temperatures that melted 14 inches of snow. But water was starting to pool in low-lying areas.

Add to that 1-3″ of rain Friday afternoon, and Rhode Island State Police Sgt. Greg Cunningham said it all makes for a dangerous mix.

“There is going to be some flooding. There will be some pooling of water on the roads. It’s inevitable,” he said.

A Flood Warning has been issued for most of the area until 1:30 a.m. Saturday, which means that flooding is imminent or occurring.

During the snowstorm last week, nearly a hundred cars slid off the road because of speeding, Sgt. Cunningham said. He had the same warning for driving in rain: “Go slow. Take your time. Don’t rush. Work with one another on the road.”

Furthermore, avoid wet side roads, he said. “It’s a cheap way to get your car washed,” he quipped, “however, it could also have serious consequences. We don’t want people to hydroplane. It’s very dangerous on a side road to hydroplane – because the roads are much narrower.”

Narrower indeed – because despite the warmer temperatures, there are still big snow banks along the streets. Crews from various local Departments of Public Works were clearing drains and flood-prone zones – and started warning drivers to avoid low-lying areas.

Oaklawn and Wilbur Avenues in Cranston is a perfect example, a familiar sight to flooding news coverage: the road dips below a red railroad bridge, and the water can only collect in the gully. Since it floods so often, it’s now equipped with a warning sign: STREET FLOODED; NO TURN  WHEN FLASHING.

A Wilbur Avenue example from the summer of 2017:

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