Before a snowfall:
- Prepare for an emergency. Keep an emergency kit and supplies in your home, office and car. During an emergency, such as a large-scale power outage, residents may be without services or assistance for up to 72 hours. Visit the Providence Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) or call (401) 680-8000 to find out more about personal emergency preparedness and for information on free emergency preparedness workshops.
- Stock up on food supplies and ensure that your prescriptions are filled.
- Note the locations of fire hydrants and catch basins around your property.
- Purchase and install quality snow tires. Tune-up your vehicle for winter driving.
- Keep a shovel and supply of salt handy for sidewalks and driveways.
- Make alternate arrangements (such as taking public transit) to commute to work, school, or medical appointments when it snows.
- Monitor local weather reports.
When it snows:
- Drive only if necessary. Public transit is a good alternative.
- Park in your driveway, not on the street. This will allow snow plows and salt spreaders the room required to safely clear the street. This is particularly important on cul-de-sacs and narrow roadways. Please note that lanes and alleys are not ploughed during a snow event.
- Observe posted signs that may restrict on-street parking in some areas during periods of heavy snowfall.
- Do not abandon your car if it gets stuck. Illegally parked cars that hamper snow removal may be ticketed and/or towed.
- Clear snow away from fire hydrants. This will make it easier for the Fire Department to locate the hydrant in the event of an emergency.
- Clear snow and ice from the catch basins in front of your home or business. This will allow for proper drainage and will reduce the chance of flooding on the street and on your property.
- Check on neighbors and family members who may need some extra assistance.
- Stay away from rivers and creeks. Heavy rainfall or melting snow causes increased safety risks due to elevated water levels, swift-moving currents and bank erosion.
- Report downed power lines. Stay clear and contact National Grid at 1-800-465-1212. More information at National Grid’s.
Schools can also be affected by heavy snowfall.
In the event of a major snowfall, local area schools may be closed. Please check the following websites during a snow event for more information.
- Providence Public School District (PPSD)
- Independent/Private Schools – contact the school directly.
Garbage and Recycling Collection.
In the event of hazardous road conditions due to snow and ice, it may be necessary to suspend garbage and recycling collection in some or all parts of the City.
- Garbage and Recycling Collection: If your garbage and recycling collection is missed, then crews will attempt to make the collection the following collection day or as soon as possible. Please ensure that your containers are not buried in snow.
- Note: If your garbage and recycling is normally collected curbside, do not place your garbage cans and recycling containers on the road. Keep them on the sidewalk or just off the road so they do not obstruct the right of way. Please remove them as soon as possible after they have been emptied.
Crews have a tough time reaching trash and recycling barrels behind snow banks. Please clear an area at the curb, or put barrels next to or in front of snow banks. Doing this ensures your barrels are in reach so our waste hauler can quickly and safely make refuse and recycling collections. If you have any questions or concerns, please call 311.
Barrels properly cleared and placed along the curb
Incorrectly placed barrels
Winter Weather Driving Tips
- Before you get behind the wheel, know the road conditions and weather forecast. For road conditions in Providence and throughout Rhode Island, call 5-1-1 of check RI DOT Travel Advisories.
- Restrict travel until road crews have had a chance to clear the roads.
- Keep vehicle windows, mirrors, roofs and lights clear of snow and ice.
- Wear your seatbelt!
- Allow extra travel time.
- Know the road surface. Black ice is invisible and could be present.
- Be alert to potentially icy areas like shady spots and bridges.
- Keep a safe distance of at least 5 car lengths behind other vehicles.
- Stay behind the snowplow. The road BEHIND the snowplow is safer.
- Never cut between a caravan of snow plows.
- When snow is forecast try not to park on narrows streets or in cul-de-sacs.
- Keep an emergency winter driving kit in your vehicle.