As the winter storm builds steam, Woonsocket officials report the city is dealing with the gathering blizzard conditions well.
Woonsocket's DPW road crew - 42 people - is managing the few inches that have fallen so far ably, said Highway Director Rick Lambert.
"We are well prepared right now," Lambert said, "As long as the equipment holds together I think we've got this, no problem."
The only issue beyond equipment Lambert forsees is manpower. With 42 people manning double coverage in 20 sections across the city, some members of the crew may get too tired to keep it up by the time this storm is over, Lambert said.
"If I had more contractors, I'd put them on," Lambert added. He said contractors can call him at 401-767-8883 to sign up. Pay is $70 per hour for contractors with a 4X4 pickup, and $90 per hour if they've got a six-wheeler.
Fire Chief Gary Lataille reports a milder storm than expected so far, with only a few inches and winds that were at high speeds for only about 60 minutes today. The real test comes overnight, Lataille said, when the storm picks up strength.
In the morning, Lataille said, it's important that everyone stay inside and not try driving around. It will take Lambert's crew about 10-12 hours to clear all the roads after a normal storm has ended, Lataille said, so this storm will probably take them longer than that. So, even when the storm is over, it will still be important to stay off the roads for a while.
Lataille noted there are extra police patrols in the city to ticket and tow cars violating the parking ban - which is not meant to hassle residents. "They're just trying to run the city as best they can," and streets can't be cleared if there are cars in the way, Lataille said.