Wet Start to October

October 4th, 2014 at 10:42 pm by under General Talk, Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

As of Saturday evening, Southern New England was still in a moderate drought.  Recent rains may slowly bring us out of  ‘drought’ status, however.  We could be labelled as “abnormally dry” when the next drought analysis is released from the United States Drought Monitor.  If not this week, we will could be out of a drought by the end of this week.  That analysis from the U.S. Drought Monitor will likely come Monday or Tuesday.

There has been measurable rain each of the first 4 days of October.

  • October 1:  0.30″
  • October 2:  0.31:
  • October 3:  0.01″
  • October 4:  0.28″

That brings the monthly total (through Saturday evening) up to 0.90″.

Compare that number to all the rain that fell in September…


September was the second driest on record, and we’ve been keeping track of Septembers since 1905.

Read the rest of this entry »

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

October 4th, 2014 at 9:29 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 WPRI.com website »

Anti-Cianci group collapses; Lorne Adrain to support Elorza

October 3rd, 2014 at 3:05 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A third-party group aimed at blocking Vincent “Buddy” Cianci Jr. from winning back City Hall has collapsed before ever getting off the ground, WPRI.com has learned.

Read the rest of this story »

• Related: RI delegation holds fundraiser to help Elorza beat Cianci (Oct. 2)

Cianci wants more cops, community policing in Providence

October 3rd, 2014 at 1:49 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Independent mayoral candidate Vincent “Buddy” Cianci Jr. said Friday he wants to expand the city’s police force, pledging to find the money to add cops by conducting an audit of the city budget aimed at identifying “waste, fraud and abuse” if he defeats Democrat Jorge Elorza on Nov. 4.

Read the rest of this story »

RI delegation holds fundraiser to help Elorza beat Cianci

October 3rd, 2014 at 11:10 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A who’s who list of Rhode Island’s political establishment turned out to support Democrat Jorge Elorza at a fundraiser Thursday, pledging to do whatever it takes to help the 37-year-old former Housing Court judge defeat Buddy Cianci in the race for Providence mayor.

Read the rest of this story »

Cianci, Elorza differ on Providence waterfront plans

October 2nd, 2014 at 7:49 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The future of Providence’s waterfront has re-emerged as a campaign talking point in the city’s mayoral race, with independent Buddy Cianci calling for mixed-use development along part of Allens Avenue near the Providence River and Democrat Jorge Elorza maintaining the area should be used strictly for industrial purposes.

The candidates’ conflicting views on the land – which stretches from the Sprague Energy complex near the Providence River Bridge down to Fields Point, and hugs a large chunk of the Port of Providence – is likely to reignite a years-long battle over how best to utilize the waterfront, a flashpoint during Cianci’s previous tenure as mayor in the 1990s.

Read the rest of this story »

Providence takes beating in mayoral debate

October 1st, 2014 at 7:10 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan and Tim White

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Who was the biggest loser in last night’s mayoral debate? The city of Providence.

Democrat Jorge Elorza, Republican Daniel Harrop and independent Vincent A. “Buddy” Cianci Jr. took turns battering the city they hope to lead Tuesday evening, decrying Providence’s struggles with crime, schools and finances.

Read the rest of this story »

Providence’s troubled city pension fund, in three charts

October 1st, 2014 at 3:06 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

The sizable shortfall in Providence’s pension system for retired city workers has become a major topic of discussion in this year’s race for mayor, with facts and figures flying fast and furious.

To help you sort out facts from fiction, here are three charts that give an overview of the city pension fund’s finances over the last two decades under three mayors: Buddy Cianci (1991-2002), David Cicilline (2003-2011) and Angel Taveras (2011-present). The numbers come from the annual city audit.

First off, here’s a look at what’s called the “unfunded liability” in the pension fund – the official shortfall between how much the city has socked away and how much it would need to pay out promised benefits in full, as reported by the city’s actuary. For a variety of reasons, the shortfall grew from $137 million in 1991 to $759 million in 2012. (The latest audit isn’t out yet, but the shortfall rose to $832 million in 2013.)

Providence unfunded pension liability 1991 2012

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Flood Watch For Massachusetts Through Thursday AM

October 1st, 2014 at 2:24 pm by under Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

A Flood Watch starts at 5PM this evening and goes through tomorrow (Thursday) morning.  This watch is for Bristol County Massachusetts only.  Remember, a watch means there is a POTENTIAL of flooding.  If flooding is imminent, then a warning will be issues.

HEADLINES FOR Bristol County Mass (as well as Plymouth County, Cape Cod, and the islands):

- Periods of heavy rainfall which could lead to the flooding of streets or small streams.  The more likely areas to get flooding would be in far eastern areas such as the outer Cape.  Areas from New Bedford and points west are less likely to get flooding.

- 1 to 2 inches of rain are likely; but isolated higher amounts are possible.

- Periods of heavy rain will be moving through this afternoon, but the most likely time to see the heaviest of the rain is 5PM this evening into early Thursday morning.

As of this afternoon, Live Pinpoint Doppler 12 RADAR was already showing heavy amounts of moisture moving in from the Atlantic.




0.5 to 1.5 inches of rain is likely; but some higher isolated amounts are possible. If the rain axis starts moving further west, it’s possible that parts of Rhode Island may have to be added to Flood Watch area. -Pete Mangione

September Was 2nd Driest on Record in RI

October 1st, 2014 at 8:30 am by under General Talk, Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

We’re beginning October with rain…. something we saw very little of in September.  In fact, with just under 3/4″ of rain for the month at TF Green Airport, it became the 2nd driest September on record for RI.  The driest was 100 years ago– September 1914, when the area received 0.48″ of rain.  For September alone, that leaves us with a more than 3″ rainfall deficit.temp 3

The dry spell is taking its toll.  Last week, the US Drought Monitor upped the classification for most of southeastern New England from “abnormally dry” to “moderate drought”.

temp 2

US Drought Monitor valid September 23, 2014

No doubt, the ground is parched and our rivers and lakes are running very low.  Check out this view of Wordens Pond in Wakefield, RI from Eyewitness News viewer Gina Falcone.  The picture on the left is what the pond usually looks like, with the picture on the right from the past weekend.

Wordens Pond from Gina Falcone

Wordens Pond from Gina Falcone

We need some rainy days this month to help ease the drought conditions, and today will be one.  Periods of rain and drizzle are likely through tonight and early Thursday morning.  We’re hopeful that some areas will see more than 1/2″ of  rain.  A cold front on Saturday will give us another shot at some beneficial rain.  Even though the wet weather may impact your weekend plans, your lawns and gardens will be happy!

Analysis: 5 takeaways from the Providence mayor debate

October 1st, 2014 at 12:51 am by under Nesi's Notes

Click here to read my five takeaways from the debate on the new WPRI.com website »

Providence mayoral candidates spar in first TV debate

October 1st, 2014 at 12:48 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The three candidates for mayor of Providence promised to spur economic development, improve schools and add police officers during their first televised debate Tuesday, making the case that the city is plagued by poor finances and crime.

Read the rest of this story »

• Related: Watch the full debate on WPRI.com | Analysis: 5 takeaways from the debate

Cianci was right: his final budget funded pensions at 80%

September 30th, 2014 at 9:10 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

I owe Buddy Cianci a correction.

Numbers were flying fast and furious during Tuesday evening’s Providence mayoral debate, and I got mixed up during the section on pensions when Cianci was talking in calendar years as I was looking at city audits that are in fiscal years.

It happened when Cianci said the city “finally got up to 80% funded in 2002,” meaning that the city made 80% of its annual required contribution (ARC) to the pension fund that year. Knowing the numbers somewhat (and recalling that Cianci incorrectly said on a recent Newsmakers that he made 100% contributions in his final years), I said the city’s contribution was actually around 60% that year.

Cianci then clarified that the final budget he put together before his September 2002 resignation was for the fiscal year that ran from July 1, 2002, to June 30, 2003. And indeed, the city audit shows Providence did make 80.25% of its annual required contribution to the pension fund in the 2002-03 fiscal year, which is the budget Cianci was putting together in the spring of 2002.

(To compound things, as I tried to separate calendar from fiscal years on the fly I misread the 2002 and 2003 numbers when I looked down at the pension page from the city audit, and incorrectly said he only made a 60.6% contribution in 2002 and a 64.18% contribution in 2003; that was in fiscal 2001 and fiscal 2002.)

On this point Cianci was right, and I was wrong: the Cianci administration did indeed increase Providence’s annual required contribution (ARC) to the pension fund from 60.6% in the 2000-01 fiscal year to 64.18% in the 2001-02 fiscal year and 80.25% in the 2002-03 fiscal year, his final budget.

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

• Related: Providence’s troubled city pension fund, in four charts (Oct. 1)

Ted Nesi ( tnesi@wpri.com ) covers politics and the economy for WPRI.com and writes the Nesi’s Notes blog. Follow him on Twitter: @tednesi

Tonight at 7 on Fox Providence – Cianci vs. Elorza vs. Harrop

September 30th, 2014 at 1:11 pm by under Nesi's Notes

City Council split on Elorza, Cianci in race for mayor

September 30th, 2014 at 9:16 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – What, you thought they’d vote as a bloc?

Providence’s all-Democratic City Council is divided when it comes to the race for mayor, with six members backing Jorge Elorza, five breaking party ranks to endorse independent Buddy Cianci and four saying they still have haven’t made a decision on whom they’ll support on Nov. 4.

Read the rest of this story »

Landscape Starting To Change…Why Leaves Change Color

September 29th, 2014 at 6:55 pm by under Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

Good Evening from chief meteorologist Tony Petrarca

What make the leaves change color? They really don’t change color but rather reveal colors that are already there, hidden within deep pigments of green….As the green pigments disappears, other “hidden” colors show up. Plants absorb water from the ground through their roots. They also take in carbon dioxide from the air, while using sunlight to turn water and carbon dioxide into glucose. Glucose is a kind of sugar. Plants use glucose as “food” for energy to help them grow. The process of plants turning water and carbon dioxide into sugar is called photosynthesis. A chemical called chlorophyll helps make photosynthesis happen. Chlorophyll is what gives plants their green color.

colorful leaves








Click HERE for current foliage color across New England this week

So….how do we get rid of the green colors?? That’s where the change of seasons comes in. As summer ends the days get shorter with less sunlight. During the winter, frozen soil means less water getting to the roots. As a result photosynthesis shuts down….green colors fade, revealing pigments of yellow and orange. In some trees, like maples, glucose is trapped in the leaves after photosynthesis stops. Sunlight and the cool nights of autumn cause the leaves to turn this glucose into a red color.

Our weather team will keep you updated…check back with us on wpri.com for more info.

Tony Petrarca

Fung attacks Raimondo on 38 Studios in new TV ad

September 29th, 2014 at 5:16 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Republican gubernatorial nominee Allan Fung released the first TV attack ad of the fall campaign on Monday, criticizing his Democratic rival Gina Raimondo for supporting repayment of the 38 Studios bonds. The campaign is putting $93,000 behind the ad over 10 days.

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First Raimondo TV spot ties her to Jack Reed

September 28th, 2014 at 8:40 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Democratic gubernatorial nominee Gina Raimondo is leaning on party elder statesman U.S. Sen. Jack Reed to give her a boost as she launches her first television commercial of the fall campaign. The state party is spending $90,000 on the ad this week.

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Watch Executive Suite: NanoSteel; VETS Foundation

September 28th, 2014 at 8:30 pm by under Nesi's Notes

It’s a New Record!!

September 28th, 2014 at 4:54 pm by under General Talk, Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

Most people who have lived in Southern New England their entire lives have never seen a September 28th as warm as this one.  A 71 year old temperature record has fallen at TF Green Airport, where the state’s climatological records are gathered.

For most of Sunday, the winds were very light out of the south and southwest, and temperatures stayed in the low 80s.  Late this afternoon, the winds turned westerly, and the temperature jumped a couple of degrees to smash the high temperature record for the date.


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

High temperatures all over Southern New England were quite warm today, including 87° in Boston, 84° in Taunton and a toasty 80° in Newport.  Windsor Locks and Providence both set high temperature records for today.


Monday will be a little cooler, but highs should still be well above average.  Mid to late week, however, temperatures will  likely stay in the 60s.

-Meteorologist T.J. Del Santo

Watch Newsmakers: Political roundtable on mayor, gov races

September 28th, 2014 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes

Near Record Warmth This Weekend

September 27th, 2014 at 11:55 pm by under General Talk, Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

Saturday felt like summer outside.  From Newport to Providence to Taunton, temperatures soared into the 80s in the afternoon.

Here’s a look at the high temps from around the area on Saturday.


That 85° mark in Providence was reached at 2:40pm.   That was 1° shy of tying the record for the date which is 86°.



Read the rest of this entry »

Poll: Raimondo has slim lead over Fung for gov

September 27th, 2014 at 12:41 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Democrat Gina Raimondo has a small lead over Republican Allan Fung in the race to become Rhode Island’s next governor, according to a new poll released Saturday by Rasmussen Reports that did not include Moderate Bob Healey.

The survey of 750 likely voters in Rhode Island shows Raimondo on top at 42%, with Fung a relatively close second at 37%. An additional 11% of voters said they were supporting a different candidate, while 11% said they were undecided.

Read the rest of this story »

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

September 27th, 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 WPRI.com website »

Most of Southeast New England in Drought

September 26th, 2014 at 12:13 pm by under General Talk, Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

We got some rain Thursday into Friday, but for most of Southern New England, it didn’t do much to stop the dry spell.


During the month of September, T.F. Green Airport in Warwick got 0.64″ of rain which is 2.60″ below normal.  This was after a fairly dry August when 2.70″ of rain fell…close to an inch below normal.   Something to note about that August rain:  most of it fell on one day…August 13th when 2.26″ fell leading to flash flooding.

The U.S. Drought Monitor is now classifying Rhode Island and Bristol County, MA in a moderate drought (tan color below).

Read the rest of this entry »

NOAA Says This Winter Could go Either Way

September 25th, 2014 at 5:09 pm by under Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

The Climate Prediction Center (the branch of NOAA that handles long term forecasts) recently issued their forecast for this upcoming winter.  Whether you are a “snow lover”, or a “snow hater”, there is not much to get excited about.  That’s because the forecast calls for equal chances of below or above normal precipitation.  The NOAA forecast map for this December, January, and February is below:


The “EC” stands for equal chances, and one of those EC’s is sitting right over the northeast.  The green shaded areas with the A represent locations which have slightly better odds to receive above normal precipitation, and the orange shaded areas with the B represent locations which have slightly better odds to receive below normal precipitation. Precipitation includes rain as well as snow, but it still can be used as guide for making long term snow forecasts.

There is a lot of analysis that goes into making a long term forecast, and there are many different methods that can be used.   Several private forecasting firms have also come out with winter forecasts and the outlooks vary.  While I don’t know everything that went into the forecast from the Climate Prediction Center, it’s likely that they based some of it on El Nino, which has a better than 50% chance of developing by this winter.

El Nino is characterized by the warm waters in the equatorial Pacific; this can affect the position of the jet stream and long term weather patterns.  During El Nino periods,  the Pacific jet stream tends to cut across the southern part of the United States.


This brings a lot of moisture and lift to this region, which is why El Nino often brings soaking rain from central/southern California to the southeastern United States.  But history has shown there is NO strong signal for the northeast; that is likely one of the reasons for the “equal chances” forecast by NOAA for our area.


For the sake of curiosity, I decided to look at a few of the past El Nino winters and a possible snowfall trend.  Here is a breakdown; the snowfall data comes from TF Green Airport (source: Northeastern Regional Climate Center)


El Nino Winter                                  Snowfall

2009-2010:                                             31.5

2006-2007:                                             15.1

2004-2005:                                             72.2

2002-2003:                                             56.3


With the normal TF Green snowfall being 33.8 inches, you can see that 2 El Nino winters had above normal snowfall, and 2 El Nino winters had below normal snowfall.  This includes a very snowy winter in 2004-2005 with 72 inches, and a very wimpy winter in 2006-2007 with just 15.1 inches.   Because there are only four years listed above, we can’t draw any scientific conclusions from this data.  However, it is interesting that the these four years support the idea that El Nino doesn’t really tell us anything about the upcoming winter in the northeast.  It can snow a lot, it can snow about average, and it might not snow that much at all!

Of course, we should be able to give a few more specifics as we get closer to winter. Enjoy  the beginning of autumn! -Pete Mangione

Cianci and Elorza chasing undecided voters in race for Providence mayor

September 25th, 2014 at 5:08 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The candidates for Providence mayor will spend the six weeks between now and the election courting the 21% of voters who say they still haven’t picked a candidate in the race, according to several campaign experts, former city aides and political operatives.

That means independent Vincent A. “Buddy” Cianci Jr. and Democrat Jorge Elorza will stop at nothing as they seek to define one another, a strategy that will likely include vicious television ads and brutal mailers in the coming weeks, political observers say.

Read the rest of this story »

WPRI 12/Journal Poll: Buddy Cianci on top for mayor

September 23rd, 2014 at 5:43 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi and Tim White

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Former Providence Mayor Vincent A. “Buddy” Cianci Jr. has a small lead over Jorge Elorza six weeks ahead of the election to replace Mayor Angel Taveras, but many voters are still undecided, an exclusive WPRI 12/Providence Journal poll released Tuesday shows.

The new survey of 503 likely voters in Providence shows independent Cianci on top at 38%, with Democrat Elorza in second place at 32% and Republican Daniel Harrop a distant third at 6%. Roughly one in five Providence voters – 21% – said they remain undecided about the Nov. 4 election for mayor.

Read the rest of this story »

• Interactive: Dig into complete results of the September WPRI 12/Journal poll

Coming at 10 p.m., more poll results on city voters’ mood; at 4:30 a.m., their take on Cianci’s convictions.

Police, fire unions endorse Cianci for Providence mayor

September 23rd, 2014 at 4:51 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Providence’s two public safety unions have both endorsed former Mayor Vincent A. “Buddy” Cianci Jr. in his bid to return to City Hall.

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Daylight on the Decline

September 23rd, 2014 at 11:58 am by under General Talk, Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

Welcome to Autumn!  It’s a great season here in New England, with vibrant colors, sweater (and boots) weather and all things pumpkin.  What’s not to love?!  Well, for many, the shorter days that come with fall.  With the Autumnal Equinox, we mark the time where the sun’s direct rays cross the equator and head into the Southern Hemisphere.  It’s easy to notice with each passing day that the sunrises are getting later and the sunsets earlier.  In fact, we are losing about 3 minutes of daylight each day…. and those minutes quickly add up.

While equinox means “equal night”… that’s not exactly the case as we still have slightly more than 12 hours of daylight the first few days of Autumn.  Enjoy it, because by Saturday our nights will exceed our days for the first time since the start of spring.  And from there, we await the shortest day of the year…. December 21 when we only see the sun for a mere 9 hours and 13 minutes.  The sunset on  that day will be at 4:20pm.

temp 3

Along with the shorter days, inevitably comes the cooler temperatures due to the longer nights and weaker, indirect rays of the sun.  Our average high temperature drops from 72° today, to 58° on November 1 and 41° by December 21.