PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island (AP) — Heavy rain that flooded streets and forced the closure of major roads in Rhode Island on Labor Day continued Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.
The city of Cranston had received almost 11 inches of rain by early Tuesday, compared with about 8 inches of rain in some other parts of the state, according to the weather service report.
The flood warning, which remained in effect in the upstate, was extended as far north as Massachusetts and as far west as northeast Connecticut. Total rainfall in neighboring states was lower, although Sterling, Connecticut received more than 7 inches along the state line and Attleboro, Massachusetts received almost 5 1/2 inches.
Rain blocked Interstate 95 and other roads in and around Providence and delayed several drivers on Monday, but the roadway was reopened later in the evening, the state Department of Transportation tweeted.
Agency director Peter Alwity said at a press conference on Monday that the rain had overwhelmed the drainage systems.
“It was just raining at an intensity that exceeded his ability to bear it,” he said.
Even though commuters were due to take to the roads after the long holiday weekend, Gov. Dan McKee advised people to “avoid unnecessary travel” and avoid driving through flood waters.
In Providence, an unoccupied building collapsed, and at Brown University, about 30 students were temporarily displaced from their dorms when rainwater flooded the lower floor. After a number of cars were nearly submerged on Charles Street in Providence on Monday, rescuers had to rescue passengers using a life raft.
The Rhode Island Motor Vehicle Division closed its Providence branch on Tuesday due to flooding. The office is expected to remain closed on Wednesday.
Providence mayoral candidate Brett Smiley, a Democrat, said the city’s infrastructure had failed due to decades of underfunding, poor repairs, and inconsistent maintenance. Councilwoman Nirva LaFortune, who is also running for mayor, criticized Smiley for not addressing these issues when he worked for the city and then for the governor.
In July, Providence received less than half an inch of rain in the third driest July on record. Last week, half of the state was hit by a severe drought and the rest was hit by a severe drought.
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