RI Mandatory Evacuations Underway as State Braces for Irene | NECN

RI Mandatory Evacuations Underway as State Braces for Irene

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    NEWSLETTERS

    (NECN: Lauren Collins, Misquamicut, RI) - If you weren’t out by 4 o’clock, chances are you had plans to stay put. 

    “We’re gonna sit it out and if things get bad there’s a stop and shop just down the road,” says Rich Greene who drove out from Western Massachusetts to pull his boat out of the water.

    The low-lying, south facing neighborhoods of Westerly, Rhode Island – like many other coastal parts of the state – were under mandatory evacuation orders Saturday.  Bud Kenyon went so far as to move his lobster boat where he usually keeps it. 

    “If it comes in from the west I’d get creamed down there,” he says, though he remembers the Hurricane of ’38, Carol, and Bob and wasn’t about to leave the house he’s lived in for more than a half century. 

    Some locals hit the surf.

    “For a hurricane swell it was pretty fun. There was light wind so we had some fun,” says Bob Gingerella who was surfing with his two best friends. 

    No fun to be had on the waterfront where the stores and restaurants that usually bustle this last weekend in august were boarded up. 

    “Kinda feel badly for people that waited this long to have vacation,” says one passer-by. 

    Don’t feel bad for Chicago native Kathy Whiting who’s never been in a hurricane before.  “This is the first one.  It was really exciting.  I think i’m gonna be a little disappointed if it doesn’t…oh i shouldn’t say that.”

    Though not everyone was that excited.  Most of Misquamicut cleared out and a handful of people checked into the Red Cross shelter.

    “I just couldn’t stay home.  I just couldn’t,” says Elaine Nelson of Charlestown, RI.  She and her husband Bob readied their home for the worst, then left.

    “You have a chance to leave, so if you don’t leave and you have a problem they won’t come.  They’ll wait ‘til after the storm, “ she says.

    “No one knows exactly what this is going to look like,” stresses Westerly Town Manager Stephen Hartford who hopes those who’ve stayed behind think twice, before it’s too late.

    “We have to presume that it’s going to be bad and that the water surges are going to be life threating so we have to get people out, especially in the Misquamicut area.”