The Saturday Morning Post: Quick hits on politics & more in RI

November 22nd, 2014 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site, The Saturday Morning Post

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Obama immigration plan ends Secure Communities program in RI

November 21st, 2014 at 2:14 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A controversial policy aimed at identifying and deporting undocumented immigrant criminals that has long been opposed by the city of Providence will come to an end Friday when President Barack Obama signs his executive order overhauling the nation’s immigration policy.

Part of the president’s sweeping action is to replace the Secure Communities program, an initiative that asks local law enforcement agencies to run the fingerprints of accused criminals against federal immigration databases. During a primetime speech Thursday, Obama said his new Priority Enforcement Program will focus on deporting “felons, not families.”

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Elorza hears residents’ concerns about crime, schools

November 21st, 2014 at 9:14 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – He spent the better part of the last year talking. Now Providence Mayor-elect Jorge Elorza is listening.

Just over two weeks after his convincing victory over independent Vincent A. “Buddy” Cianci Jr. in the race for mayor, Elorza held the first of four scheduled “listening forums” across the city Thursday, giving residents the chance to voice their frustration over city issues and make recommendations to the incoming mayor.

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Everything you need to know about Providence’s two new high schools

November 20th, 2014 at 10:22 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Eighth-grade students in Providence will have more options when they begin the high school selection process early next year as the city prepares to open two new schools beginning in the 2015-16 school year.

The startup costs for the new schools will be funded by a $3-million grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, a 103-year-old foundation whose current president is former Brown University President Vartan Gregorian.

So what are these new schools going to look like? Here’s an overview.

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Lake Effect Snow Machine About to Turn Back On

November 19th, 2014 at 4:46 pm by under General Talk, Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

Sixty five inches.  Nearly five and a half feet.  That’s how much snow has fallen in the Buffalo, NY suburbs during the past few days.  And more…a lot more… is about to come.

Here are some snowfall reports from the National Weather Service in Buffalo.



Snow is piled up as high as doors and covering the tops of cars and roofs of houses.

Courtesy: Jessica Marie in West Seneca, NY

Courtesy: Jessica Marie in West Seneca, NY

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Chart: Food stamp use finally stops rising in RI after surge

November 19th, 2014 at 1:49 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Rhode Island’s food-stamp enrollment has finally stopped growing after it soared during and after the Great Recession.

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Nellie Gorbea seeks public’s input before taking office

November 19th, 2014 at 1:00 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Secretary of State-elect Nellie Gorbea wants to hear from you before she takes office.

Gorbea on Wednesday unveiled a website for her transition effort,, as she prepares to take over from term-limited incumbent Ralph Mollis on Jan. 6. The site offers citizens ways to share ideas for the office, apply for jobs there, and sign up for updates.

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Coldest Morning in Nearly 8 Months

November 19th, 2014 at 10:40 am by under General Talk, Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

It felt pretty uncomfortable outside this morning…and for good reason.  It’s been awhile since it has been this cold! This morning’s low temperature of 21° in Providence was the coldest temperature we have had in the capitol city since March 27th when the low was 20°.


Read the rest of this entry »

Major Lake Effect Snow Storm in NY

November 18th, 2014 at 5:36 pm by under General Talk, Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

The amount of snow that has fallen in western and northern New York is mind-boggling.  The recent blast of cold air, which has settled over the Northeast, is helping to create monster snow totals in parts of the Empire State.  As I type, 51″ of snow has fallen in Cheektowaga, NY!

During the morning, the National Weather Service in Buffalo wrote in their technical discussion that they are forecasting nearly 6feet of snow for Buffalo’s southern suburbs.

nwsbufThis is for good reason.  The band of lake effect snow was not moving at all, and it wasn’t expected to move out of the area until about 7pm EST.   Snowfall rates of 3 to 4″ per hour were reported and there was even some thunder heard in the area.


Here’s the MODIS satellite photo of the snow bands.


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All 50 States at or Below Freezing This Morning.

November 18th, 2014 at 2:04 pm by under General Talk, Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

This blast of Arctic air is being felt by millions of Americans today.  Here in Rhode Island, busy winds and cold temperatures are creating wind chills well into the 20s.  Western New York is dealing with a tremendous lake effect snow storm; parts of Florida have Freeze Warnings; and even parts of Hawaii would give you goose bumps.

Across the country, every single state had a weather station with readings of 32°F or lower this morning.   Rhode Island, by the way, was the last hold out.  That’s typical…we were the last of the Thirteen Colonies to sign the Constitution, too!  Rhode Island’s freezing temperature came at 8:54am when the temperature hit 32.0°F in Chepachet, RI.

Here are some temperature readings from some typical ‘warm’ states:

  • Florida:  28°F at Bob Sikes Airport
  • Texas:  Amarillo 17°F at the airport
  • California:  Mammoth/June Lakes  7°F
  • Hawaii:   Mauna Kea: 30° at NASA’s Infrared Telescope Facility


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RI pension law still in legal jeopardy, 3 years later

November 18th, 2014 at 12:01 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Three years ago today, Gov. Lincoln Chafee signed what remains the most sweeping overhaul of a state pension system ever seen in the U.S., saving taxpayers billions but angering many government workers and retirees in the process.

Three years later Chafee is set to leave office after a single term, to be succeeded by the architect of the pension overhaul, General Treasurer and Gov.-elect Gina Raimondo. But with a suit challenging the law still in pretrial limbo, there is growing momentum in favor of reaching a deal to resolve the issue once and for all.

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All Watches And Warnings Have Expired….

November 17th, 2014 at 7:41 pm by under Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

Good Evening from chief meteorologist Tony Petrarca…

Fast moving system has raced offshore this evening. A line of strong thunderstorms (thin red line on radar) which hit Block Island, the Cape and Islands hard early this evening with winds to 60 mph, continues to pull away…in its wake a rapid drop in temperature very late Tonight will bring in some of the coldest air so far of the Autumn season next few days…













Radar Image As Of 735pm…Line Of Storms (red) Have Raced Offshore


3PM Storm Update…

November 17th, 2014 at 3:00 pm by under Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

Good Afternoon  from chief meteorologist Tony Petrarca

Weather continues to move along on  schedule..heaviest of rain and wind late will be  late Today into early evening.  Currently tracking (as of 3:03pm) very heavy rain from New Jersey to Waterbury Conn. headed our away. Brief flash flooding of streets along with wind gusts of 45-55 mph over Rhode Island..up to 60mph for Cape after 4pm.














Photo courtesy Of National Weather Service Taunton.

Flash Flood Watch 3pm to 11pm

November 17th, 2014 at 11:45 am by under General Talk, Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

Add a FLASH FLOOD WATCH to the high wind advisories and warnings that are in effect for southern New England from late this afternoon through this evening.  As we continue to track an area of low pressure and strong cold front approaching southern New England,  Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts, except for the islands has the potential to see some flash flooding as “round 2″ of steadier and heavier downpours moves into our area later today.  In addition, as winds pick up, leaves will come down, potentially clogging storm drains and enhancing the street flooding.  With rainfall rates of up to 1″ per hour, urban and poor drainage areas will be prone to localized, brief flooding.  temp 1

While there’s a lull in the rainfall mid-day, it’s a good time to clean out the leaves from nearby storm drains.  temp 2Here’s a look at some of the potential rain totals by midnight.  temp 2

Windswept Rain Storm Today

November 17th, 2014 at 8:50 am by under General Talk, Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

It’s a cold rain falling in southern New England this morning with temperatures in the 30s for most with light to moderate rain.  The good news for commuters is that temperatures are warm enough that there’s no threat of ice or snow here in southern New England.  Our main concerns with this system is localized flooding and strong, damaging winds.

The WIND ADVISORY has been expanded to include ALL OF RHODE ISLAND and northern Bristol County in MA, while the HIGH WIND WARNING is for southern Bristol County (Including Fall River and New Bedford) as well as the Cape and Island.  Winds will pick up this afternoon and evening ahead of a strong cold front.  As heavier rain and potential isolated thunderstorms draw down stronger winds from aloft, some gusts could reach speeds of 50-60mph.  Isolated wind damage and power outages are possible.  The most likely time to see the stronger gusts is around the evening commute.

temp 3

Weather Alert

 As for the rain…. one batch of steadier rain has been moving through this morning, followed by a brief “lull” mid-day.  Another round of heavy rain and strong winds are likely around the time of the evening commute.  It’s late afternoon through the evening, ahead of a strong cold front when our area could also see a few thunderstorms.  Any t’storms would enhance both the rainfall rate and the wind speeds.  The rainfall accumulation map below is one models idea on where the heaviest rain could fall, but keep in mind, that line of 2″-3″ totals could end up shifting into a different part of southern New England or off-shore.  I’d plan on a healthy 1-1.5″ for most of our area with isolated amounts up to 3″ possible.

temp 2

Potential Rainfall Amounts Through this Evening


Strong Winds Expected Monday Afternoon/Evening

November 16th, 2014 at 5:34 pm by under General Talk, Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

A quick-moving, but powerful storm system will move through the Northeast tonight through Monday evening.

An area of strong winds will pass over Southern New England Monday afternoon and evening.  Winds could gust to 50mph from the southwest.  A Wind Advisory has been issued by the National Weather Service in Taunton for the Providence Metro Area and points to the south and east.


On the Cape and Islands, stronger wind gusts are possible.  Isolated power outages are possible everywhere.

Read the rest of this entry »

Wind/Rain Maker on the Way; Then VERY Cold

November 16th, 2014 at 8:56 am by under Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

If you don’t like cold temperatures here is the good news: Temperatures go back into the 50s for Monday! Here is the bad news: The 50s will come with rain and a lot of wind by Monday overnight.

Tonight (Sunday night) some rain showers will start to move through after 10 or 11PM.  Initially, I was a little concerned about a wintry mix, but it looks like that will stay well off to our north.

MONDAY MORNING COMMUTE: Some fog and rain showers may slow things down a little, but we are not looking at widespread downpours.  Allow an extra few minutes and you should be OK.  The winds will be fairly light at this point.

MONDAY EVENING COMMUTE: Off and on showers will continue as temperatures rise into the 50s.  Some upper 50s are possible near the south coast! Breezes will start to pick up, but the strong gusts should hold off until after the commute.

 MONDAY NIGHT: Some heavy pockets of rain will move through; an isolated thunderstorm cannot be ruled out.  Winds will potentially gust between 35 to 50 mph; some isolated power outages are possible. Here is a look at a computer model forecast for 9PM (these strong winds may actually hold off until after midnight):


TUESDAY: Winds will continue to be busy gusting between 30-40 mph.  As the next arctic air mass slides on through, temperatures will actually be colder by the evening commute than for the morning commute.

TUESDAY NIGHT INTO WEDNESDAY MORNING: Very cold with actual temperatures in the 20s but wind chills in the teens and even a few single digits.


Have a good Sunday and enjoy the roller coaster temperature ride! -Pete Mangione


Watch Newsmakers: Providence Mayor-elect Jorge Elorza

November 16th, 2014 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes

Look for Meteors Next Few Nights/Mornings

November 15th, 2014 at 10:20 pm by under General Talk, Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

I saw a stray Leonid Meteor Friday evening.  It was very colorful, very bright and pretty large.  Unfortunately, meteors are fleeting, and I had no time to get a camera ready.  It was beautiful, though and you can see these meteors, too, for the next few days.

In the early morning skies of November 16-18, the Leonid meteors will make their annual appearance.  These meteors are famous for reaching ‘storm’ level when thousands of meteors could be seen per hour; however, these kind of shows don’t happen every year.  In fact, it’s about every 33 years or so when the number of meteors shows a significant rise.

Courtesy: Navicore/Wikipedia Commons.  A Leonid meteor in 2009.
Courtesy: Navicore/Wikipedia Commons. A Leonid meteor in 2009.

The Leonids are created from left over pieces of Comet Tempel-Tuttle.   This comet comes in and out of the inner solar system every 33 years.   As the comet approaches the sun, the ice melts and bits and pieces of the comet are left in space.   These particles are small–usually the size of a piece of dust or a grain of sand.  On a rare occasion, however, they can be larger.  As the Earth orbits the Sun, it passes through this debris.  The little bits of the comet burn up as they fall through the atmosphere, and we see the streaks of light.    The larger pieces of debris can create spectacular fireballs which can linger in the sky like fireworks. Read the rest of this entry »

Freeze Warning for Parts of Our Area

November 15th, 2014 at 10:00 pm by under General Talk, Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

In our area, the last area to see a frost or a freeze is Block Island.  The growing season is still technically ongoing on the island, and with another pretty cold night ahead, the National Weather Service has issued a Freeze Warning for Block Island for Sunday 2-6am.   In addition, Nantucket also has a Freeze Warning for that same time period.


According to the National Weather Service, a Freeze Warning is issued when freezing temperatures are forecast to threaten outdoor plants.  Those with agricultural interests in the warning area are advised to harvest or protect tender vegetation.

Detailed 7 Day  » Current Conditions » Radar » Severe Weather » Closings » Signup for Alerts & Closings » Hurricane Tracker » Storm Ready Resource Guide » Severe Weather » Ocean »

-Meteorologist T.J. Del Santo

Saturday: Coldest Day in 7.5 months

November 15th, 2014 at 7:10 pm by under General Talk, Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

It was pretty cold today, there’s no doubt about it.  At sunrise, temperatures were well below freezing across most of the area.


It was a frosty start to the day, too.  I snapped these two photos of Jack Frost’s handywork up in Pascoag where the low was 23°.

frost_leaves Frost_Window

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The Saturday Morning Post: Quick hits on politics & more in RI

November 15th, 2014 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site, The Saturday Morning Post

Click here to read this week’s Saturday Morning Post on the new website »

Providence repays $1.9M for bad loans, improper expenses

November 14th, 2014 at 5:35 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan & Walt Buteau

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The troubled taxpayer-funded loan program run by the city of Providence is finally turning the page after years of scrutiny from the federal government.

The city repaid $1.92 million in August to cover a slew of loans and other expenditures the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) ruled never should have been authorized, according to HUD spokeswoman Rhonda Siciliano.

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Mayor-elect Elorza promises no tax increase next year

November 14th, 2014 at 1:58 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan & Tim White

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Mayor-elect Jorge Elorza said Friday he will not seek to raise taxes in order to cover a projected shortfall when he begins to craft his first budget early next year.

The incoming mayor said he’s heard the budget gap for the 2015-16 fiscal year could be between $15 million and $24 million, but indicated he won’t know the true figure until his administration conducts a full review of the budget.

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Snow has Ended, Cold Temperatures Continue

November 14th, 2014 at 8:06 am by under General Talk, Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

A little taste of winter for us early this morning, as snow predawn left a coating to up to 2″ of wet snow on grassy surfaces and car tops.  Here’s a look at the minor snowfall totals for our area: temp 2

By 7:30am the snow was over and the sun was emerging as the back edge of the cloud cover moved out.  The rest of the day looks dry, brisk and bright with a fresh shot of cold air moving in behind this departing area of low pressure.  On a northwest wind, afternoon temperatures will only climb to the low 40s and wind chills will be in the 30s.  temp 3

Cold and dry will be the theme for the weekend…. temperatures begin in the 20s both mornings with Saturday’s high near 40 and only a few degrees warmer than that on Sunday.

Our next storm system on Monday has a track that supports mainly rain.  Check in over the weekend, though, for updates.

Friday AM Commute: rain and a little snow

November 13th, 2014 at 4:46 pm by under Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

New data has come in this afternoon and it continues to support the idea of snowflakes in the air, but very little in the way of accumulation.

Here is an updated accumulation map that Tony and I have been working on as he gets ready for the evening newscasts.  Most of what you see below will be on the grass and car tops; but an inch or two of snow is possible on the pavement to the north and west of 295.



Here is timeline of what to expect:

Now until 11PM: Cloudy and cool but dry.  So if you need to drive the kids around to practices and other activities this evening, that will be no problem!

11PM until 3AM: Light to moderate rain will overspread the area. 

3AM to 8AM: Rain will start to change to snow.  This will happen first in northwest Rhode Island.  For Providence and points south and east, the change to snow may not happen until 5AM – 7AM.  The coast may stay rain for the entire time…and if it does change to snow here the snow will be very brief.

8AM to 10AM: Snow will start to move out from west to east.  Western RI, you will be pretty much done with the the snow by this point.  Bristol County Mass will hang onto the snow/rain a little longer.

Morning Commute Impacts:

-It will be messy for everyone, so you may want to allow an extra 10 to 20 minutes to get to work.

-Along and north and west of 295, there may be some slick and snow covered roads.  Please drive with caution!


Have a good night and stay with WPRI both online and on the air for updates. -Pete Mangione


Providence has crowded race for City Council president

November 13th, 2014 at 4:07 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – If you aren’t running for president of the Providence City Council, chances are you aren’t a member of the Providence City Council.

Ward 15 Councilwoman Sabina Matos confirmed Thursday she is now considering running for the council’s top job, joining a field that already includes Ward 10 Councilman Luis Aponte, Ward 12 Councilman Terry Hassett and Ward 14 Councilman David Salvatore.

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Gov.-elect Raimondo names 13 to her transition team

November 13th, 2014 at 2:35 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Gov.-elect Gina Raimondo on Thursday announced she has appointed 13 Rhode Islanders to her transition team, including a top State House Republican, as she prepares to succeed Gov. Lincoln Chafee in January.

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Early Friday Commute Could be Messy

November 13th, 2014 at 7:43 am by under General Talk, Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

Tomorrow could mark the first snowy commute of the season for our area.  It’s not going to be a lot of snow, but timing is everything, right?!  And the timing for this system could make for  a few headaches for early morning drivers on Friday.  The cold air is settling into southern New England today with dry and mostly sunny skies through the day.  The weather will remain quiet through this evening’s commute, so no worries there.

Things start to change overnight, as a quick-moving system tracks south of southern New England and strengthens as it passes southeast of Nantucket early tomorrow morning.

06z GFS valid at 7am Friday

06z GFS valid at 7am Friday

Initially the precipitation will start as rain, but it changes to wet snow from northwest to southeast late at night (after 2am).  Most of the snow will melt as it hits the (relatively) warm pavement, but it begins to coat grassy surfaces and car tops before dawn.  Our main concern is that a brief period of heavier snow will be possible between 4-7am, leading to small accumulations and perhaps even a slushy coating on roadways.  Any heavier snow will reduce visibility and could make for some slow travel.  temp 1

By late morning, the sun will be emerging as the skies clear and the rest of the day looks dry brisk and cool.

As for accumulations…. most of us end up with a coating to and inch of 2 of snow… again, mostly on grassy surfaces and car tops.  Isolated amounts of up to 3″ possible north of Providence. temp 2

temp 3

RI ranks No. 4 in US for student loan debt

November 13th, 2014 at 12:31 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Students earning their bachelor’s degrees from colleges in Rhode Island are graduating with some of the highest levels of debt in the country, according to a study released Thursday by Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit The Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS).

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