A man photographs a flooded commercial building along Elmwood Avenue as the Pawtuxett River overflows in Cranston, Rhode Island on March 30, 2010. Getty Images
April 1 (Bloomberg) — As many as 200,000 people may be affected by flooding in Rhode Island that has halted Amtrak service to Boston for two days, blocked highways and threatened a Rhode Island dam.
After two record flood crests in March, Rhode Island is dealing with damage reminiscent of hurricanes, Teddy Hampton, American Red Cross disaster relief operations job director, said in a telephone interview today.
“When you start talking about the numbers of people who are affected, it’s pretty dad-gum close to a Category 3 to Category 4 hurricane,” said Hampton, who flew in from Alabama and often has to respond to the tropical systems. “It’s going to far, far exceed the local chapter’s capability in every way.”
About 184 people were housed in Red Cross shelters last night, and many more went to the shelters to eat, Hampton said. The Red Cross estimates 180,000 to 200,000 people will be dealing with the flood on some level, from cleaning the sewer- tainted water that washed over their homes to finding food.