By dawn, the unparalleled flood had transformed the Rhode Island landscape into islands of isolation, the region’s web of roadways broken, whole sections of neighborhoods stranded and without power.
Gridlock greeted thousands of commuters weaving like mice through a maze of alternate routes around Route 95, the state’s most vital transportation artery, closed in Warwick by the flooding Pawtuxet River.
And with a half-dozen sewage treatment plants compromised or overwhelmed by the most destructive flood in the state’s recorded history, officials braced for an environmental disaster with huge public health and financial ramifications.
Governor Carcieri shut down state government and urged people to stay home. In the epicenter of grief –– the Pawtuxet River basin where hundreds of homes were already submerged –– the water continued to rise to levels never before seen.
Makes my little adventure with wet carpets downstairs seem like a cakewalk. These storms have had no equal in the recorded history of the Boston/Providence region.