RHODE ISLAND—The Tropical Storm Watch for the coast of Rhode Island has been upgraded to a Tropical Storm Warning for the immediate south coast and Rhode Islanders are being advised to heed warnings of strong wind gusts, rough surf and dangerous rip currents as Tropical Storm Hermine brews about 280 miles south of Nantucket.
The National Weather Service issued the Tropical Storm Warning to go into effect at 5 p.m. Sunday with the most impact concentrated on the southern coast where beach erosion and big waves are likely.
The storm is packing winds upwards of 70 mph and is moving about 10 mph. Conditions will worsen through the night into Monday.
According to the National Weather Service, 50 mph gusts may arrive across Block Island, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket tonight with gusts on the immediate south coast that could down trees, tree limbs and power lines.
Trees are stressed because of drought conditions, which increases the likelihood of damaged trees, the weather service said.
The weather service is warning of “dangerously rough surf and life threatening rip currents” Sunday afternoon into the middle part of the week.
The storm isn’t expected to produce significant rainfall but there still could be bands of heavy showers Sunday through Monday.
The rough conditions at sea has kept the U.S. Coast Guard and local police and fire departments busy since Friday. People were rescued from capsized boats off Block Island, Warwick and vessels took on water in East Greenwich, North Kingstown and Tiverton on Saturday night within a two-hour timeframe.
On Sunday, crews were searching waters off Newport for a possible missing kayaker after a kayak was found adrift and a 31-foot sailboat ran aground in Warwick.
The Block Island Ferry cancelled service Sunday along with the Providence to Newport Ferry.
The Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency on Saturday warned Rhode Islanders to avoid the rough seas and be prepared for possible power outages and other weather-related issues.
RIEMA encourages Rhode Islanders to register for the following:
o Code Red – provides emergency alerts and information. Code Red registration is located on www.riema.ri.gov
o Rhode Island Special Needs Emergency Registry – lets police, fire, and other first responders in your community better prepare for and respond to your needs during a hurricane, storm, or other emergency. Registration is located on https://kidsnet.health.ri.gov/emregistry/form.html.