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Tracking Henri: Thousands without power in Massachusetts

WFXT Boston logo WFXT Boston 8/22/2021 Boston 25 News Staff, Associated Press
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The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency is reporting thousands of power outages across the region as Tropical Storm Henri continues its way through New England.

As of noon Sunday, 5,894 customers across the Commonwealth were in the dark and that number is expected to grow.

Around 11 a.m., the National Hurricane Center said the center of Tropical Storm Henri was close to passing Block Island, Rhode Island as the storm continues on a path toward southern New England.

A dangerous storm surge, strong gusty winds and heavy rain are expected across the region.

Henri was downgraded from a Category 1 hurricane to a tropical storm Sunday morning as it made its way across portions of southern New England.

Henri weakened slightly to a tropical storm early Sunday but still packed wind gusts of up to 75 mph in some areas as it was slated to pummel a long stretch of northeastern coastline, where millions on New York’s Long Island and in southern New England braced for the possibility of flooding, toppled trees and extended power outages.

With the center of the storm projected to pass just off the eastern tip of Long Island by midday, hurricane warnings extended from coastal Connecticut and Rhode Island to the luxurious oceanfront estates of New York’s Hamptons.

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

In preparation for the storm, officials in Providence, Rhode Island, and New Bedford, Massachusetts, closed giant hurricane barriers that were built in the 1960s, after devastating storms in 1938 and 1954.

Massachusetts’ Steamship Authority canceled ferry service between the mainland and the popular vacation islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket until at least noon Sunday after the U.S. Coast Guard shut down ports on Cape Cod and New Bedford. Tourists waiting in their cars, hoping for a last-minute ferry off the islands, were stranded until the worst of Henri passes.

PREVIOUS: Steamship Authority cancels ferry service through noon due to Henri

The first thunderstorms bringing what could be up to half a foot (15 centimeters) of rain arrived late Saturday, and flash flooding began in some areas overnight. Bands of heavy rain overwhelmed storm drains and drivers plowed through foot-deep water in a few spots in New York City, and Newark, and Hoboken, New Jersey.

Tropical storm-intensity winds were beginning to strike the coast Sunday morning. Rising tide threatened to produce dangerous storm surge. People in the projected path spent Saturday scrambling to stock up on groceries and gasoline. Those close to the coast boarded up windows and, in some cases, evacuated.

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Kevin Lemanowicz | Shiri Spear | Jason Brewer | Vicki Graf

Live Updates for Sunday, August 22

11 a.m.: The National Hurricane Center said the center of Henri is passing close to Block Island as it continues to head for southern New England. A dangerous storm surge, strong wind and flooding rain are expected.

9 a.m.: Damage reports are now coming in for parts of Rhode Island as Tropical Storm Henri continues to deliver heavy wind gusts and rain across the state before traveling Martha’s Vineyard at 40 mph.

7 a.m.: Henri has been downgraded to a tropical storm, but the impact for heavy rain and strong wind continues as it makes its way up southern New England, through Rhode Island, before arriving in Massachuetts by early afternoon.

Live Updates for Saturday, August 21

11 p.m.: The latest track information shows Henri is speeding up, but will slow down and weaken slightly before making landfall, according to the Boston 25 Weather Team. The track has shifted a little to the east.

8 p.m.: Henri’s movement and wind are the same, according to the Boston 25 Weather Team. Our meteorologists are expecting landfall along eastern Long Island through southern Connecticut and Rhode Island, with slight strengthening overnight as the storm moves through some warmer waters. However, it will then weaken as it approaches cooler waters over New England and some wind shear.

6:45 p.m.: Eversource says utility crews from across the nation are arriving at its staging area on Cape Cod.

5 p.m.: According to the 5 p.m. track update, Henri is picking up speed, now moving NNE at 18 mph. Additional strengthening is still possible tonight. As it gets closer to the coast of southern New England/New York, it will start to weaken and it will slow down a bit. Expected landfall after 2 p.m. Sunday, maybe closer to 5 p.m. This could change. The track brings the storm still between Long Island and southern Rhode Island.

2 p.m.: According to the 2 p.m. track update, Henri remains a hurricane. It is moving a little faster since the last update. No big changes to the forecast track. Still watching potential landfall between Long Island and Block Island on Sunday.

1:45 p.m.: Sunday’s ferry between Martha’s Vineyard & Inter-Island has been canceled.

1 p.m.: Boston 25 News reporter Kirsten Glavin had lots of company while leaving the Cape this afternoon.

10:55 a.m.: Henri strengthens to Category 1 hurricane.

10 a.m.: Sunday’s WooSox game has been canceled due to the storm. Fans can exchange their tickets for any future WooSox game this season at Polar Park, including Saturday afternoon’s game at 4:05 p.m.

9:15 a.m.: The New England Aquarium will be closed on Sunday, August 22 in anticipation of the storm. The area around the Aquarium is notorious for flooding during storms.

8 a.m.: Hurricane Hunters just flew into Tropical Storm Henri. It is forecast to become a hurricane Saturday afternoon and will near New England tomorrow.

7:30 a.m.: Flood Watch issued for central and western MA, CT, RI and Long Island.

5:30 a.m.: Henri remains a Tropical Storm Saturday morning and is expected to become a Category 1 Hurricane by the afternoon, according to Meteorologist Vicki Graf. Multiple advisories are in place including:

-A Tropical Storm Warning for the South Coast, Martha’s Vineyard into southern Rhode Island

-Hurricane Warning for Long Island and southern Connecticut

-Storm Surge Warning for Cape & Islands, as well as South Coast

-Flood Watch across central and western MA, CT, RI and Long Island

Friday, August 20

11:13 p.m.: Henri is again farther west, which is good news for eastern Massachusetts, Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, according to Chief Meteorologist Kevin Lemanowicz.

8 p.m.: Henri is still a Tropical Storm and this does not change the track, in the latest update from Chief Meteorologist Kevin Lemanowicz.

5 p.m.: Henri’s track shifted more westward in the latest update from the Boston 25 Weather Team.

2 p.m.:

1:15 p.m.:

11 a.m.:

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