Here is some information about how to make it through this year’s first large snow storm.
The City’s weather service predicts the storm will leave between 8 and 12 inches of snow in our area, followed by wind gusts exceeding 45 miles per hour, producing blizzard conditions.
The storm will be followed by bitterly cold temperatures and wind chills dropping as low as 30 degrees below zero on Friday, creating a serious frost bite risk for anyone staying outside 30 minutes or longer. While we all want to shovel our walks and driveways, we may have to wait. The Providence Public Schools will be closed both today and tomorrow.
If you lose electric power, call National Grid at 1-800-322-3223.
The major snowfall is expected to continue into the early evening, making it unsafe to drive throughout that time. If you have an emergency today that requires transportation, call 911.
The snow is expected to end tonight, which will provide the City an opportunity to begin clearing the streets at that time with a goal of making everyone’s commute tomorrow morning possible. If your street is not cleared tomorrow morning, you can contact PVD 311, either by dialing 311 on your telephone or clicking on this link.
I also have provided some general tips below. Stay safe and warm!
Be Snow Ready
Before a snowfall:
· Prepare for an emergency. Keep an emergency kit and supplies in your home, office and car. During an emergency, such as a large-scale power outage, residents may be without services or assistance for up to 72 hours. Visit the Providence Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) at www.readyprov.com or call (401) 680-8000 to find out more about personal emergency preparedness and for information on free emergency preparedness workshops.
· Stock up on food supplies and ensure that your prescriptions are filled.
· Note the locations of fire hydrants and catch basins around your property.
· Purchase and install quality snow tires. Tune-up your vehicle for winter driving.
· Keep a shovel and supply of salt handy for sidewalks and driveways.
· Make alternate arrangements (such as taking public transit) to commute to work, school, or medical appointments when it snows.
· Monitor local weather reports.
When it snows:
· Drive only if necessary. Public transit is a good alternative.
· Park in your driveway, not on the street. This will allow snow plows and salt spreaders the room required to safely clear the street. This is particularly important on cul-de-sacs and narrow roadways. Please note that lanes and alleys are not ploughed during a snow event.
· Observe posted signs that may restrict on-street parking in some areas during periods of heavy snowfall.
· Do not abandon your car if it gets stuck. Illegally parked cars that hamper snow removal may be ticketed and/or towed.
· Clear snow away from fire hydrants. This will make it easier for the Fire Department to locate the hydrant in the event of an emergency.
· Clear snow and ice from the catch basins in front of your home or business. This will allow for proper drainage and will reduce the chance of flooding on the street and on your property.
· Check on neighbors and family members who may need some extra assistance.
· Stay away from rivers and creeks. Heavy rainfall or melting snow causes increased safety risks due to elevated water levels, swift-moving currents and bank erosion.
· Report downed power lines. Stay clear and contact National Grid at 1-800-465-1212. VisitNational Grid’s website for further information about power outages.
Schools can also be affected by heavy snowfall. In the event of a major snowfall, local area schools may be closed. Please check the following websites during a snow event for more information.
· Providence Public School District (PPSD): www.providenceschools.org
· Independent/Private Schools: Please contact the school directly.
Winter Weather Driving Tips
· Before you get behind the wheel, know the road conditions and weather forecast. For road conditions in Providence and throughout Rhode Island, call 5-1-1 or visit the Rhode Island Department of Transportation Travel Advisory Page.
· Restrict travel until road crews have had a chance to clear the roads.
· Keep vehicle windows, mirrors, roofs and lights clear of snow and ice.
· Wear your seat belt!
· Allow extra travel time.
· Know the road surface. Black ice is invisible and could be present.
· Be alert to potentially icy areas like shady spots and bridges.
· Keep a safe distance of at least 5 car lengths behind other vehicles.
· Stay behind the snowplow. The road BEHIND the snowplow is safer.
· Never cut between a caravan of snow plows.
· When snow is forecast try not to park on narrows streets or in cul-de-sacs.
· Keep an emergency winter driving kit in your vehicle.
Frequently Asked Questions About Snow in Providence
What is a snow emergency?
A snow emergency is a pre-determined period of time during which roadways are cleared of passenger traffic and parked cars to enable crews to respond and remove snow. A snow emergency is not issued by the National Weather Service; however winter weather warnings, blizzard warnings, and other winter weather advisories are taken into account when declaring a snow emergency.
What is the City’s responsibility during a snow emergency? The City is responsible for plowing public streets citywide and making them safe and drivable. The City of Providence needs the assistance of every resident and business owner to restore roads and sidewalks to normal passable conditions.
When will the City begin sanding and plowing the streets? The City begins sanding streets 2-3 hours before a winter storm begins. Snow plowing usually begins immediately after the first snow begins falling.
How does the City decide what streets are plowed first? The city plows top priority and high-volume roadways first, followed by collector streets and routes leading to schools. Once conditions have been stabilized on first- and second-priority routes, crews will begin to clear local streets. Local streets are not plowed immediately during a snow event. In the event of continual snowfall, it may take longer than normal for plows to reach local streets as first- and second-priority streets will require additional attention. Be assured that once it snows, Providence crews work around the clock until all the roads are safe and drivable.
Why do the City plows push snow into my driveway? Who is responsible for clearing it? Snowplow operators push snow off roadways in smooth, continuous passes. Toward the end of the snow storm plows begin to widen roadways by pushing snow closer to the curb line and in some cases onto the sidewalk. The snow ends up on the roadway shoulders, in gutters, and sometimes blocking driveways and sidewalks. Unfortunately, there is no way to avoid this inconvenience. Removing snow from your driveway or property after plows have passed and shoveling to the right side of your driveway as you face the road can help prevent re-shoveling. All residents and businesses are urged not to redeposit snow back onto the street.
I just saw a plow go down my street with the plow up. Why? Trucks may be spreading salt and sand, out of salt and sand and headed back to a maintenance yard for a refill, or headed to an assigned area. Be assured that once it snows, Providence crews work around the clock until all the roads are safe and drivable.
How long after the storm is over can I expect all streets will be passable? Every snowfall is different, but the City follows standard snow removal procedures during every snow event. The timing and intensity of the winter storm will determine how quickly the city can clear roads and make them drivable again. Be patient; crews are working hard and will eventually get to your road.
What responsibilities do property owners, businesses, and residents have during and after a snow storm? Property owners are required to remove snow and ice from sidewalks, catch basins, fire hydrants and pedestrian ramps adjacent to their property. The city will fine property owners who do not clear adjacent sidewalks of snow. This is a public safety issue and is the responsibility of the property owners. (See City Ordinance Sections 23-13 to 23-17)
Check in on relatives, friends, and neighbors who may need assistance preparing for a storm. Consider helping neighbors who may require special assistance, especially the elderly and those with disabilities.
Remain off the roads during a snowstorm unless absolutely necessary. Using alternative transportation during snowstorms reduces the number of vehicles on the road, allowing plows and spreaders more room to operate.
How soon after the snow has stopped should I begin shoveling my driveway? It depends on the type of snowfall and the temperature. Be cautious when shoveling heavy wet snow as it can lead to injury. When there is a heavy wet snowfall it is best to use a snow blower. If you do not have one, ask a neighbor if you can borrow one.
Removing snow from your driveway or property after plows have passed and shoveling to the right side of your driveway as you face the road can help prevent re-shoveling.
Can I blow, shovel or plow snow onto the street?
No you cannot. Fines will be imposed on any person(s) depositing snow onto any street, highway or public place that has already been plowed. (See City Ordinance Sections 23-13 to 23-17).
Who do we call to report a sidewalk that has not been cleared of snow? Call the City’s snow hotline at (401) 680-8080.
What if I am not physically capable of clearing my sidewalk?
First ask a relative, friend or neighbor to assist you in clearing your property. Other assistance can be requested by dialing 2-1-1.
Is there a parking ban? If a parking ban is in effect it will be advertised on television and announced on the City of Providence’s website.
How does a parking ban help the City with snow removal operations? A parking ban allows work crews to salt and plow the roads quickly and safely. Cars that remain parked in violation of a parking ban prevent plow trucks from fully clearing roads and making both lanes clear and drivable following a winter storm event.
I live in a designated on street parking area and the City has issued a parking ban. Where can I park? Residents who currently hold an on-street parking permit are required to find alternative off-street parking arrangements while a parking ban is in place. During a parking ban, no vehicles are allowed to park on the street. Once the parking ban has been lifted residents may resume parking in their designated permitted areas.
My car was towed during a parking ban. How can I find out where it is? When a vehicle is towed, the owner of the vehicle should contact the Providence Police Department Central Station at (401) 243-6400 with their vehicle’s registration number in order to find out which towing company has their vehicle.
Who should I call if my street hasn’t been plowed?
Please call the City’s snow hotline at (401) 680-8080.
What should I do if my property is damaged by a plow? In the event your property is damaged by a plow, you can submit a claim with two estimates for the cost of repair through the City Clerk’s Office, Providence City Hall Room 311. Forms are available online at www.providenceri.com/city-clerk/claims
How can I get up-to-date information on snow removal operations, i.e. parking ban, school/recreation activity cancellations, RIPTA route scheduling, event cancellations etc. from the City?
Stay tuned at www.providenceri.com or call the snow hotline at (401) 680-8080.
How else can I prepare for a snow storm? Drivers are urged to keep fuel tanks filled, make sure windshield wipers are working, and keep the following items in their vehicle: a small shovel, sand or kitty litter for traction, a flashlight with fresh batteries, and a first-aid kit.
During the storm, keep children away from roadways and do not let them play in snow banks made by plows. Should power outages occur, please contact National Grid at 1-800-465-1212. Do not approach any downed utility line. Report downed wires to the Providence Fire Department by calling (401) 274-3344.
City of Providence | Service Request Form
Filling out the service request form:
Why are we asking you for your email address?