A large section of East Providence has been plunged into darkness because of the explosions of one or more transformers. It is not known if the explosions are linked to the wet snow falling in Rhode Island.
Power is out north of Route 195 and west of Broadway over to the Providence River and north to just beyond Waterman Avenue, according to the National Grid power outage map for Rhode Island.
Approximately 1,950 customers are affected, according to National Grid. The estimated time for restoration of power is 11:30 pm.
The explosions occurred at approximately 7:20 pm. East Providence Fire Capt. Oscar Elmasian confirmed that at least one transformer exploded.
But two large blue-tinged flashes that appeared at first to be heat lightning lit the sky before the lights went out all over that part of the city. Fireworks-like sparks flashed through the sky from another transformer in the vicinity of St. Francis Church before the lights went out.
A police car or emergency vehicle was spotted using a spotlight to try to locate that transformer. I was driving west on Grove Avenue toward City Hall for a meeting of the City Council when I spotted the sparks from the exploding transformer and contacted emergency officials.
That entire block and the area around it went dark in seconds. The only light in the area came from emergency lighting at Weaver Library, City Hall and the Post Office across the street.
Traffic in that part of the city was moving slowly on all the streets without lights to guide vehicles at intersections. Power was on as I approached Six Corners and drove across Broadway.
Power also appeared to be on along Warren Avenue heading toward the river, although the outage map indicates that an area west toward Pierce Field also may be without power.