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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Rhode Island Declaration of Disaster Emergency pertaining to Severe Winter Weather

Declaration of Disaster Emergency 
WHEREAS, a winter storm consisting of high winds, heavy snow and blizzard conditions is forecast to impact the entire State of Rhode Island beginning on Monday, January 26, 2015 and continuing into Wednesday, January 28, 2015; and
WHEREAS, heavy snow accumulations, drifting snow and high winds may result in dangerous driving conditions, road closures, stranded vehicles, power outages, structural damage, coastal flooding and other potential hazards which pose an imminent threat to public safety and to public and private property; and 
WHEREAS, the health, safety and resources of the people of the State of Rhode Island are endangered thereby; and 
WHEREAS, consistent, coordinated and regional travel restrictions may be necessary to prevent motorists from becoming stranded and to allow plows and public safety personnel to do their jobs. 
NOW, THEREFORE, I, GINA M. RAIMONDO, by virtue of the authority vested in me as Governor of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, pursuant to Article IX of the Rhode Island Constitution and the Rhode Island General Laws, including, but not limited to, Title 30, Chapter 15, do hereby order and direct the following: 
1. A state of disaster emergency is declared for the State of Rhode Island due to the dangers to life and property posed by this winter storm; and 
2. I hereby order that non-essential State offices and agencies shall be closed on Monday, January 26, 2015 at 11 :00 p.m. and extending until Tuesday, January 27, 2015 at 4:30 p.m. All non-essential personnel shall be relieved from duty during this time. Essential personnel, as determined by their respective agencies, should report to work and/or remain at work; and
3. The Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency (RIEMA) is directed to stand up the state emergency operations center and to activate all other necessary state emergency response plans and policies; and 
4. The RIEMA is authorized to activate and deploy the Rhode Island State Urban Search and Rescue Team and any and all other mobile support units, if necessary, to assist in the response to this disaster; and 
5. The Adjutant General is authorized to order Rhode Island National Guard members to state active duty, if necessary, to assist in the response to this disaster; and 
6. Law enforcement and environmental authorities are directed to compel the evacuation or closure of all or part of the population from any stricken or threatened area within the state as deemed necessary for public safety, and to control ingress and egress to and from a stricken or threatened area; and 
7. All state departments, agencies or quasi-state agencies and boards and commissions performing executive functions shall cooperate fully with the RIEMA in all matters concerning this Order. Efforts to provide emergency disaster relief to affected cities and towns should be coordinated by and through the RIEMA; and 
8. The Director of the Department of Environmental Management is authorized, within her discretion, to suspend regulations governing fishery landing, if necessary, for the duration of this Order; and 
9. The federal motor carrier safety regulations provided in 49 CFR Part 395.3 and incorporated by reference in R.I. Gen. Laws§ 31-27-5 are temporarily suspended for drivers delivering residential home heating oil and propane gas only for the duration of this emergency, however, nothing contained in this Order shall be construed as an exemption from the controlled substances and alcohol use and testing requirements under 49 CFR 382, the commercial driver's license requirements under 49 CFR 383, the financial responsibility requirements under 49 CFR Part 3 87, operating authority under 49 CFR Part 365, applicable size and weight requirements, or any other portion of the code of federal regulations not specifically identified and this Order shall not apply to motor carriers that have an Out of Service Order in effect. Drivers and carriers are expected to use good judgment and not operate vehicles with fatigued or ill drivers, or under any condition presenting a clear hazard to other motorists. Drivers for motor carriers operating under this Order should maintain a copy of it in their possession; and 
10. Pursuant to the emergency powers granted by Rhode Island General Laws, and any other applicable provisions of state or federal law, I shall from time to time issue additional recommendations, directions and order as circumstances require, either written or verbal; and 
11. This order shall take effect immediately and remain in full force and effect until the threat or danger has passed or the emergency conditions no longer exist.
Date: 01/26/2015
Gina M. Raimondo
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Last updated: Monday, January 26, 2015