Forecasters at the National Weather Service are now predicting that Hurricane Irene will hit the region Sunday morning rather than Sunday evening. Effects from the storm will be felt later tonight, as well.
, the Red Cross shelter in town, will open early at 6:30 p.m. tonight.
Strong to damaging winds are still expected throughout the region, likely resulting in "widespread damage with downed trees and power outages."
Rainfall amounts could be in the five- to ten-inch range in parts of the state.
According to the National Weather Service, for those under the hurricane warning (like southern Rhode Island):
Now is the time to rush to complete preparations for the protection of life and property. Evacuate if directed to do so by local officials or if your home is vulnerable to high winds or flooding.