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Thursday, September 14, 2023

Tropical Storm watch: be careful

Charlestown unlikely to bear the full brunt of Hurricane Lee

By Christopher Shea, Rhode Island Current

National Weather Service forecast (2 PM) for Charlestown:

Rhode Island is under a Tropical Storm Watch as Hurricane Lee continues its way north in the Atlantic Ocean toward New England, and Gov. Dan McKee and emergency management officials are warning people to stay clear of the coastline through the weekend.

Dangerous conditions are expected to affect beaches with southern and southeast exposures, according to a joint statement sent Wednesday from McKee and the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM). The storm is expected to pass east of southern New England with an increasing risk of wind, coastal flooding, and rain impacts beginning Friday.

National Hurricane Center forecast track for tropical storm force winds:

Note that Charlestown and much of the South County coastline is on the edge of the track, lending support to the National Weather Service forecasted wind speeds

As of 5 p.m. Wednesday, Lee was located about 380 miles southwest of Bermuda and about 965 miles south of Nantucket, Massachusetts. The National Hurricane Center issued a Hurricane Watch for Stonington, Maine, to the U.S.-Canadian border, meaning that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area,

A Tropical Storm Warning was issued for Bermuda, meaning tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning areas within the next 24 hours.

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect from Watch Hill, Rhode Island, up to Stonington, Maine, as well as Block Island, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. Tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area within 48 hours.

A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for Cape Cod Bay and Nantucket.

At 2 p.m., Wednesday, the National Weather Service issued a high rip current advisory that “will likely be extended through the weekend.”

Due to Lee’s large size, hazards will extend well away from the center, and there will be little to no significance on exactly where the center reaches the coast, the National Weather Service said.

“We’ve mobilized all of [the] state government to ensure Rhode Island is prepared for the potential impacts of Hurricane Lee and additional severe weather over the next few days. McKee said. “We are monitoring the situation closely and we are prepared.”

According to a separate announcement from McKee’s office Wednesday afternoon, the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency (RIEMA) is having daily calls with the National Weather Service and is in regular contact with the National Hurricane Center on updated projections and weather forecasts. 

RIEMA is also communicating with local EMAs to ensure communities have the necessary support in place and will convene state agencies directors on Thursday to conduct a tabletop exercise dedicated solely to hurricane response.

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation will inspect and clean storm drains regularly over the next few days to mitigate flooding, while the state police will closely monitor the highways and assist motorists as needed.

The Office of Energy Resources is also in contact with Rhode Island Energy and the state’s delivered fuel terminals to closely monitor the incoming storm system and its impact on power and fuel supplies across the state. McKee’s office added that Rhode Island Energy has secured hundreds of additional line and forestry workers to assist their full team of employees for any response effort.

Additionally, the Rhode Island Commerce Corp. said it stands ready to assist businesses impacted by the storm. For more information, call (401) 521-HELP.

Rhode Islanders are encouraged to monitor the Boston office for the National Weather Service for updates on the forecast of the hurricane and the RIEMA for preparedness information.



Rhode Island Current is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Rhode Island Current maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Janine L. Weisman for questions: Follow Rhode Island Current on Facebook and Twitter.