CHARLESTOWN, RI – The latest developments on Tropical Storm Henri and its impacts on the northeast:
Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee said the state is already entering the recovery and assessment phase after Tropical Storm Henri, with the top priority being to restore power to tens of thousands of residents and d ‘companies.
The Democratic governor said National Grid already had teams working on restoring power and the goal was to get everyone back online by Tuesday.
“We expect temperatures to be in the 90s starting Tuesday… and that is why restoring electricity is essential for the health and safety of our residents, our economy and our small businesses,” he said. he reported to state emergency management headquarters in Cranston.
Terence Sobolewski, president of National Grid Rhode Island, said it would take a few days to fully restore power.
The state has also started the damage assessment process to get maximum reimbursement from the federal government, McKee said. He said during his tour of the state at the height of the storm, he saw no major damage.
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said he would lift a 5 p.m. travel ban that went into effect Sunday morning on all empty semi-trailers, tandem semi-trailers and motorcycles on Interstate 95.
The Democrat urged people to stay off the road until the storm completely passes the state.
Storm-related flooding has been blamed for significant delays in the Hartford suburb of Wethersfield along Interstate 91, a major thoroughfare through the Connecticut capital.
Brian Foley, special assistant in the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, said there was “water on the roadway on several lanes” and a few accidents.
The northbound lane was closed for a short time and traffic was diverted.
Eversource, Connecticut’s largest electricity supplier, reported that 32,902 of its 1.28 million customers in the state were without power by mid-afternoon.
Communities in rural eastern Connecticut experienced the highest proportion of power outages in the state mid-afternoon Sunday.
The small town of Canterbury had the largest percentage of customers without power, nearly 95%, according to Eversource. About 2,180 of the 2,305 were without power. The felled trees were the cause of many breakdowns. In neighboring Lisbon, 1,205 of the company’s 1,891 customers were without electricity.
“Trees fell on swimming pools and on several houses. But luckily none of these incidents resulted in an injury, ”Premier Selectman Thomas Sparkman told NBC Connecticut.
Henry’s storm-related flooding caused significant delays in the Hartford suburb of Wethersfield along Interstate 91 northbound, a major thoroughfare through the Connecticut capital.
Brian Foley, special assistant in the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, tweeted that traffic had been reduced to one lane and there had been several accidents.
Traffic cameras showed many back-up vehicles. Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont on Twitter urged motorists to “avoid the area while crews work to remedy the situation.”
Henri has since weakened to sustained winds of 50 mph as he moves inland.
There have been few early reports of major wind or wave damage, but officials have warned of the danger of spot flooding in inland areas over the next few days.
Cities in New Jersey reported heavy rains and flooding on the streets starting Saturday night. Some places reached up to 8 inches (20 centimeters) on Sunday at noon.
TV footage showed areas where flash floods or overflowing streams had left many cars stranded, some with water up to the windows.
Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy told News 12NJ that the storm in the state has so far been a rainy event but “a significant rain event.” He said the state had been spared from very windy conditions, although the winds may pick up later. “It’s a good day to stay home,” he said, urging people to stay off the road.
Marshall Shepherd, director of the atmospheric science program at the University of Georgia and former president of the American Meteorological Society, said Henry was in some ways reminiscent of Hurricane Harvey, a slow storm that decimated the Houston area in 2017, exacerbated when bands of rain settled east of the city, a phenomenon that meteorologists call “training”.
Rhode Island has reopened the state’s major bridges to traffic, but restrictions remain in place for some vehicles.
All roads leading to the seaside community of Misquamicut remain closed due to wind-driven flooding. Misquamicut is a small group of beach hotels and vacation cabins and was heavily damaged by the storm surge during Super Storm Sandy.
The Boston office of the National Weather Service reported about 75,000 customers without power in Rhode Island, about 20,000 customers in Connecticut, and nearly 6,900 customers in Massachusetts.
Tropical Storm Henri made landfall in Rhode Island.
According to the National Hurricane Center, Henri landed in the coastal town of Westerly around 12:30 p.m. It had previously passed over Block Island, a small but popular tourist island located 13 miles off Block Island Sound.
Henri was blowing maximum sustained winds of 60 miles per hour (96 kilometers per hour), and it was producing waves of 19 feet (5.8 meters) in some places just before making landfall.
Rhode Island has closed the state’s main bridges due to high winds.
All roads leading to the seaside community of Misquamicut have been closed by authorities due to wind-driven flooding. Misquamicut is a small group of beach hotels and vacation cabins and was heavily damaged by the storm surge during Super Storm Sandy.
The state is sewn up by bridges, so closing them can mean people are trapped where they are until the storm passes.
National Grid reports 74,000 customers without power in Rhode Island and EverSource reports nearly 20,000 customers in Connecticut.
Henri weakened slightly in a tropical storm early Sunday as he neared landing.
Millions of people on Long Island in New York City and southern New England braced for flooding, overturned trees and prolonged power outages.
Henri was about to crash over a long stretch of the northeast coast at noon on Sunday. The center of the storm must have passed over the eastern tip of Long Island.
MORE ABOUT THE STORM:
—— Heavy rains interrupted a star-studded concert in Central Park on Saturday evening to celebrate New York’s re-emergence of the coronavirus pandemic.
—— A look at some of the biggest questions about Henri and his impact.