Town Manager Michael Embury has issued evacuation orders for all low-lying properties east of Route 1 in North Kingstown, all the way down to Route 138. An evacuation order is also being issued for all properties located downstream from dams in town. A broadcast will go out through the CodeRed system Saturday afternoon notifying residents of the order.
The notice is not mandatory and will impact upwards of 5,000 North Kingstown homes.
"We're being very precautionary," said North Kingstown EMA Director David Murray. "We can't pick and choose every houe with this notification. Some people need to use common sense."
The announcement follows this afternoon's state of emergency declaration by Governor Lincoln Chafee. Projections of the storm have it tracking in a more northeasterly direction that anticipated. According to reports from the Rhode Island EMA, we will sit Category 1 (possibly Category 2) winds here in Rhode Island with five to 10 inches of rain.
Forecasters are predicting a four- to seven-foot storm surge on the coast and up to 10 feet in the upper bay, exacerbated by the moon tide we'll be seeing this weekend.
"It's been a long time since we've been hit with anything of this magnitude," said Murray. "In the past we've had storms that fly past us and we kind of chuckle it off. I don't think we want to chuckle this one off."
, the town's Red Cross shelter, will open at 8 a.m. on Sunday.
Though the forecast for the area has grown worse over the past few hours, Embury says North Kingstown is still ready for Irene.
"We're concerned for the fact that we know there are a lot of bad things that can happen," said Embury. "But we're preparted for it. Everyone has the drill down. Everyone understands what their responsibilities are. We're ready."