This past Tuesday, Providence experienced extreme flash flooding and a 48-hour rainstorm that caused delays and destruction. I-95 completely flooded over a local bridge, where five cars were stuck. Major traffic delays followed, causing many to arrive late to work or school. Other communities, such as Cranston, reported similar events. The area seems to have accumulated about 11 inches of rain that the soil seems unable to handle. This is all after a severe drought that has plagued all of the Northeast, so the soil had hardened up from the heat, leaving it unable to absorb the water. This caused extreme runoff and flooding.
Many events occurred during the tropical storm. An unoccupied building collapsed from the heavy rain on Monday around Peace Street. Luckily, no one was injured, but it raises some concerns about the stability of the older buildings in the area. Dormitories at Brown University even reported flooding. One family even reported that their pool became heavily polluted from storm runoff. Providence does have multiple polluted bodies of water, so this is an unfortunate reality of what happens when polluted water runs into communities.
The flooding garnered national attention, with an article from the Washington Post being released during the storm. Flooding events like these raise questions about global warming—due to rising water levels, flooding is becoming more common in coastal states. Rising water levels can lead to intense flooding during storms, especially in areas where houses aren’t lifted or when basements aren’t above sea level.
A student from the class of 2025 said, “I don’t know why they didn’t cancel class here… My teacher said they didn’t even know if they would get home safely due to the flooding. Not to mention that commuter students definitely struggled to make it to class both days.” Another student from the class of 2025 said “It was so bad that the buses weren’t even running. I had to wait for the bus for an hour and I had to get to work off campus and Ubers were charging insane prices because of the storm…This was definitely an unusual amount of rain for Rhode Island, and the fact that the storm lasted so long is crazy.”