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Tropical Storm Henri made landfall on the coast of Rhode Island Sunday afternoon, but while the storm was downgraded from a hurricane and is expected to further weaken, millions of people across the Northeast are likely to be affected by heavy rains, strong winds, flooding and potential power outages as the storm travels through the region.

Key Facts

Henri made landfall shortly after 12 p.m. Eastern time after weakening from a hurricane to a tropical storm earlier Sunday morning.

A tropical storm warning remains in effect from East Rockaway Inlet, New York, to Chatham, Massachusetts, as well as Block Island, Rhode Island, and Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, Massachusetts, but an earlier tropical storm warning for areas including New York City has been canceled.

All storm surge warnings have now been discontinued, but the National Hurricane Center (NHC) warned storm surges of one to two feet may be possible in areas along the coast from New York to Massachusetts.

Henri is expected to bring rainfall totals of approximately three to six inches to New England, New Jersey, New York and northeast Pennsylvania through Monday, though isolated totals of up to 12 inches are possible, as is “considerable” flooding.

Maximum sustained winds from the storm have decreased to approximately 50 miles per hour, the NHC reports, and “rapid weakening is expected.”

Tornadoes are possible in southern New England Sunday, NHC projects.

Big Number

78,754. That’s approximately how many customers in Rhode Island are suffering power outages as of 3 p.m. Sunday, according to data compiled by, along with 32,279 in Connecticut and 10,657 in Massachusetts.

What To Watch For

Henri is now moving northwest and the NHC projects it could “possibly stall” on the border between Connecticut and New York Sunday night before moving east across northern Connecticut and southern Massachusetts on Monday. Marshall Shepherd, director of the atmospheric sciences program at the University of Georgia, told the Associated Press Sunday the storm stalling over the New York and New Jersey region and “sitting there and dumping rain…will be a significant hazard” for the region if the storm continues to remain slow moving or stationary.

Crucial Quote

“Don’t sleep on this storm just because it was downgraded to a [tropical storm]; the expected impacts remain the same!” the National Weather Service in Boston tweeted Sunday morning.

Key Background

Henri has already brought considerable flooding to areas including parts of New Jersey and New York City as it traveled into the region Saturday night into Sunday, and caused the mid-show cancellation of the star-studded “Homecoming Concert” in Central Park. The New York City park recorded nearly two inches of rain between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. Saturday, marking the highest hourly rainfall total in the city’s history, and areas of New Jersey became so flooded Sunday that photographs show cars being nearly submerged underwater. Thousands of residents along the Northeast coast were directed to evacuate in advance of Henri making landfall, including on New York’s Fire Island and along the Connecticut coastline, and governors in Connecticut and Rhode Island have urged residents to shelter in place as the storm approaches. The Associated Press reports some areas have also run out of gasoline as drivers prepared for the storm, which has prompted the shutdown of some commuter rail services in the region and canceled a reported more than 1,000 flights, according to FlightAware data cited by ABC News.

Surprising Fact

Henri’s downgrade from a hurricane to a tropical storm spared New England from what would have been its first direct hurricane hit in 30 years.


New York’s storm response has brought Gov. Andrew Cuomo back into the spotlight in his final days before leaving office. The governor appeared at a press conference Saturday to speak about the state’s storm preparations before he steps down from office early this week, leaving successor Kathy Hochul to handle Henri’s aftermath when she’s sworn into office on Tuesday.

Further Reading

Henri weakens to tropical storm ahead of Northeast landfall (Associated Press)

Long Island and New England Prepare for Rare Hurricane Strike (New York Times)

Henri Becomes A Hurricane As It Nears Historic New England Landfall (Forbes)

Source: Forbes

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