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Tropical Storm Henri Makes Landfall, Power Outages Mount

Tropical Storm Henri, which was downgraded to a tropical storm early Sunday morning, has made landfall. It was on land in Westerly, Rhode Island, around 12:15 p.m. Sunday, according to several meteorologists.

Warnings remain in effect as the storm targets southern New England, with massive rain coming in across the region and power outages mounting in several states.

Experts have warned that the storm’s biggest threat likely won’t come from wind but from storm surge and inland flooding, caused by what are expected to be heavy and sustained rains. Some of the highest rain totals were expected inland.

A rare New England landfall expected, if Henri regains strength it could become the first hurricane to directly hit the area since Hurricane Bob in 1991, according to AccuWeather. Meteorologists predict it will weaken, however.

The storm had winds of up to 70 mph as of 8 a.m., according to the National Hurricane Center. Winds were down to about 60 mph by noon, according to reports.

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Although it is expected to weaken further, massive rains could pour down from New Jersey up to New England until Tuesday.

Here’s a look at how the storm is impacting different areas in the northeast United States:

Massachusetts & Rhode Island
Landfall was made in Rhode Island around 12:15 p.m.

Block Island, the East Bay and the southern coast bore the brunt of the storm. Early Sunday morning, a buoy off the coast of Block Island reported 19.4 foot wave swells, the National Weather Service said.

A satellite video showed the storm taking aim at the region Sunday morning, ahead of direct landfall.

“Don’t sleep on this storm just because it was downgraded to a tropical storm; the expected impacts remain the same!” the NWS said.

Although up to 100,000 households were without power at one point on Sunday, that number had decreased to about 75,000 by 4 p.m.

Earlier, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker warned between 100,000 and 300,000 Massachusetts electric customers could be without power by Sunday night and some of those outages could last for several days.

The first bands of rain from Henri arrived in Rhode Island and along the south coast of Massachusetts early Sunday morning, and by 8:30 a.m. a heavy, windblown rain was falling in Boston.

More than 74,000 people are without power in Rhode Island alone, according to a map of U.S. power outage numbers.

Several major bridges in Rhode Island, which stitch together much of the state, were briefly shuttered Sunday, and some coastal roads were nearly impassable.

Westerly resident Collette Chisholm, a 20-year resident, said the waves were much higher than normal, but said she wasn’t concerned about her home suffering extensive damage.

“I love storms,” she said. “I think they’re exciting, as long as no one gets hurt.”

The storm’s biggest threat, according to meteorologists, is the risk for “significant” flooding in southern New England.

More than 22,000 in the state were without electricity as of 1 p.m., when four nursing homes in the state were evacuated, WFSB Matthew Campbell reported on Twitter.

The federal government has approved Gov. Ned Lamont’s request for Connecticut to receive a presidential pre-landfall emergency declaration in advance of the storm’s impact.

“We’re not out of the woods yet,” Lamont said Sunday, noting that while Henri has gone from hurricane to tropical storm, a significant amount of rainfall is still expected to continue and thousands remain without power.

The State Emergency Operations Center became fully activated as of Sunday morning, and officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency are already embedded there.
Long Island
At 8 a.m., Henry was about 40 miles southeast of Montauk with maximum sustained winds of 70 mph. It was moving northwest at 16 mph.

A tropical storm warning is in effect for the entire island. Henri will be near hurricane strength when it makes landfall in likely either Connecticut or Rhode Island late Sunday morning or early afternoon. It’s expected to pass just off Montauk.

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The wind threat for the region has decreased as Henri’s track shifted east, but wind gusts on the island could still reach 60–70 mph through the afternoon, more than enough to cause damage to trees and power lines.

The period of the heaviest rain is occurring between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m., when 3–6 inches or more may fall over much of Suffolk County, the weather service said.

A flood watch remains in effect for the entire region with a moderate potential for flash flooding into Sunday night.

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