Severe Weather Rhode Island

A truck navigates flooding on Industrial Road in Cumberland, R.I., on Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022. WJAR/ via AP

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The two-day rainstorm that dropped more than 11 inches of rain in one Rhode Island community, blocked a major highway, stranded motorists, and forced the shutdown of the state’s largest zoo was expected to fizzle out later Tuesday, forecasters said.

A flood warning that remained in effect in northern parts of the state was extended north into Massachusetts and west into northeast Connecticut as rain continued to fall.

More than 11 inches of rain had fallen in the city of Cranston by early Tuesday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service, while some other areas of the state got around 8 inches of rain.

Rainfall totals were lower in neighboring states, although Sterling, Connecticut, along the border, received more than 7 inches and Attleboro, Massachusetts, got almost 5 1/2 inches.

The Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence was closed Tuesday so workers could clean up the mess left behind by the rain, including trees that fell onto walkways. No animals were harmed, a zoo spokesperson told WJAR-TV. The zoo was scheduled to reopen Wednesday.

Severe Weather Rhode Island

A truck navigates flooding on Industrial Road in Cumberland, R.I., on Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022. WJAR/ via AP

The state Department of Environmental Management closed many shellfishing areas, some until Friday and some for an entire week, because of the heavy rains, which resulted in runoff and sewer overflow discharges that can contaminate the shellfishing beds.


The Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles closed its Providence branch office on Tuesday due to flooding. The office was expected to remain closed on Wednesday too.

Interstate 95 and other roads in and around Providence were blocked by rainwaters on Monday, stranding several drivers, but the roadway was reopened later in the evening, the state Transportation Department said in a tweet.

Agency Director Peter Alviti said at a Monday news conference that the rain was overwhelming the drainage systems.

In Providence, an unoccupied building collapsed, and at Brown University about 30 students were temporarily displaced from their dorm when rainwaters flooded a lower floor. After several cars were nearly submerged, occupants had to be rescued by first responders with a life raft.

Democratic Providence mayoral candidate Brett Smiley said the city’s infrastructure failed because of decades of underfunding, faulty repairs and inconsistent maintenance. Democratic Councilwoman Nirva LaFortune, who is also running for mayor, criticized Smiley for not tackling these issues when he worked for the city, and then for the governor.

In July, Providence had less than half an inch of rainfall in the third driest July on record. Half of the state was experiencing extreme drought and the rest was experiencing severe drought as of last week.

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