- Associated Press - Monday, February 2, 2015

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - A winter storm is expected to bring up to a foot of snow and then freezing rain Monday, just a week after a blizzard dropped 2 feet of snow in some parts of Rhode Island.

Many municipalities canceled school and banned on-street parking. Gov. Gina Raimondo didn’t ban travel like she did during the blizzard, but she urged Rhode Islanders to be cautious and patient. She said roads will be slick and increasingly icy.

Some bridges may close Monday night as the temperature drops rapidly, she said.

“This is winter in New England, so we’re not surprised by the weather and we do our best to stay prepared,” the governor said in a statement. “My top priority at all times is keeping Rhode Islanders safe.”

She said it can be challenging to clear the roads when storms hit so closely together, but the Department of Transportation, state police and National Guard are working to keep the roads safe.

“Tonight’s commute will be messy and, again, potentially dangerous. Please watch your speed and take extra time to get home,” she added.

Rhode Island came to a standstill last week as it was hit with one of the state’s top five snowstorms on record. Providence County was hit the hardest, with 28.5 inches of snow in Burrillville. In Providence, a foot-and-a-half fell.

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza said there’s still a lot of snow on the ground. He said the snow is heavy and he’s concerned falling tree limbs could cause outages. National Grid reported two outages Monday afternoon.

“This storm is a tricky storm because it’s a very wet snow and a very heavy snow,” Elorza said. “It’ll be turning into possible sleet and rain, then after that this evening the temperatures will be dipping. It’s going to be pretty frigid. The concern there is that a lot of the snow that melts and the rain that falls, that this will be quickly converted into ice.”

Elorza said tow trucks are out in “full force” to enforce the parking ban. There are more than 100 trucks clearing the city’s roads, he said.

Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian said the city runs out of places to put the snow when there are back-to-back storms. He said the city’s roads are passable, and workers are moving snow into parking lots and clearing storm drains.

“It becomes a little more creative in how you have to move things around,” he said.

Jeanette Pelaez, whose son goes to elementary school in Providence, said she didn’t mind that school was canceled again because she thought school officials were being responsible. She said her 7-year-old son, Yandel, went to school just two days last week because of the blizzard. He played in the snow for 15 minutes Monday, before deciding it was too cold outside.

“He’s playing video games,” she said. “He loves being off from school. He loves it.”

The handlers of Pennsylvania’s most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, said Monday the furry rodent has forecast six more weeks of winter.

“It looks like it’s going to be a long six weeks,” Avedisian said.


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