Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee urged state residents stay at home all day Sunday and into Monday morning during what’s expected to be the worst of Hurricane Henri.
“We consider this a serious matter,” the Democrat said at a news conference Saturday at state emergency management headquarters in Cranston.
While he stopped short of issuing a shelter-in-place order, he said he “strongly recommends” staying home.
State residents should spend Saturday properly squaring away their emergency plans and making sure they have enough supplies so they can hunker down Sunday, he said.
McKee and state Emergency Management Director Marc Pappas said they are most concerned about power outages. With the storm currently expected to make landfall to the west of the state, that puts Rhode Island in line to receive high winds that could gust to 80 mph and heavy rains that could lead power outages, Pappas said.
State police commander Col. James Manni has spoken to police chiefs in every coastal community to urge them to close coastal roads to everyone except residents to prevent what he called storm “sightseeing” which could lead to tragedy.
The state in conjunction with the Red Cross has also set up five emergency shelters in Providence, Warwick, South Kingstown, Cumberland and Middletown that are all scheduled to open at 8 p.m. Masks will be required at all the shelters and other COVID-19 safety protocols will be in place, McKee said.