UPDATE - 2:41 p.m. : As National Grid works to this afternoon, the Woonsocket EMA reported Hurricane Sandy is expected to make landfall as a Category 1 Hurricane in New Jersey.
Winds are currently 15-25 mph according to a release from the EMA, and will increase in intensity throughout the afternoon and evening.
The biggest threat remains from the wind from 2 - 10 p.m. tonight, with the highest winds expected at 5 p.m.Rain totals are still expected to be in the low range of 2”-4”.
Any wire down reports should be made to the Fire and Police Departments by calling 911, according to the release. NEVER approach or attempt to move downed wires - all downed wires should be considered “live”.
UPDATE - 11:11 a.m. : Woonsocket Police are working with The River First United Methodist to arrange transport for anyone seeking shelter at the church to the Red Cross Shelter at Cumberland High School if needed. Pastor Rebecca Lambert said the church has acquired some blankets and pillows so they can also put up people overnight if needed.
10:54 a.m.: Wind, light rain and light traffic greeted Woonsocket citizens this morning, with no damage reported from the early hours of the day as Hurricane Sandy traveled closer.
At the regional emergency shelter at Cumberland High School a few miles into Cumberland on Mendon Road, only one person had taken advantage of the Red Cross's hospitality this morning.
Sheila Lindsay of North Smithfield said she had come in overnight, since there wasn't much in the way of senior services in her town.
Shelter director Joanne Ramsey said the shelter, set up in the school's gym, is ready to take in anyone who needs to leave their home during the storm. Ramsey, who also ran the area's shelter at the school during last year's storm, Irene, said she didn't get anyone from the city last time.
At Woonsocket Fire Department Headquarters, Emergency Management Director Chief Gary Lataille said he'd just been out inspecting the city and hadn't seen any sign of damage from the storm as of 9 a.m.
According to National Grid's power outage map, about 52 people in the area of Manville Road and Bernon St. were without power as of 11 a.m.
One advantage from the wind is that it's stripping the leaves from trees, Lataille said, so rain isn't likely to weigh them down and break them.
Lataille said there's little danger of flooding from the Blackstone River, which he's also been monitoring. He took the opportunity to remind people to take in barrels and carts so they're not blowing around during the storm. Also, he said, people should avoid any downed wires that they see.
At River First United, 17 Federal St., the aroma of brewing coffee filled a room of about 20 people seeking relief from being cooped up at home. The church is operating as a gathering place during the day, but will close down tonight.
Babacar Seck, spending the morning at the church, said he and his wife are expecting an important package from UPS at their home, so he'll have to head back later today to wait for it.
"I really don't like the weather, personally, but I'm enjoying myself," said Paul Frazier, another person spending the morning at the church. He said he hopes the weather will clear up enough for Halloween. His daughter is dressing as Ragedy-Ann this year, he said.