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Henri Upgraded To Hurricane Status As It Nears New England

Henri, now a hurricane, on the morning of Saturday, August 21, 2021.
NOAA/STARR 08/21/2021 12:11 UTC GOES-East
National Weather Service
Henri, now a hurricane, on the morning of Saturday, August 21, 2021.

Henri is now a hurricane. The National Hurricane Center issued an advisory late Saturday morning upgrading the tropical storm to a hurricane as it moves northward toward New England.

Storm surge, hurricane conditions and rainfall that could cause flooding are expected to begin as early as Saturday.

Forecasters said Henri was expected to make landfall on Long Island or in southern New England on Sunday, remaining at or near hurricane strength. The expected track of the storm has drifted west. The center of the storm had previously been considered more likely to hit Rhode Island, but is now likely to hit Connecticut.

The area of heaviest rain could be anywhere from eastern New York all the way into central Massachusetts. The areas that receive heavy rain will ultimately see some serious flooding — perhaps major or catastrophic in nature.

Broad impacts were expected across a large swath of the Northeast, extending inland to Hartford, Connecticut, and Albany, New York, and eastward to Cape Cod, which is teeming with tens of thousands of summer tourists.

Connecticut prepares

Two hundred Connecticut National Guard troops were called in Saturday to prepare for the storm in case they are needed. They were getting ready to use high-wheeled vehicles to get people out of flooded areas, to distribute food and supplies, and to help clear downed trees from roads after the storm.

“We’ve learned from Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Irene that preparation at staging areas ahead of the storm making landfall is key to a quick and effective response,” Major General Evon said in a statement.

Governor Ned Lamont declared a state of emergency ahead of the storm.

Lamont warned Connecticut residents they should prepare to “shelter in place” from Sunday afternoon through at least Monday morning as the state braces for the first possible direct hit from a hurricane in decades.

Eversource said it was staging thousands of crews from around the country, along with supplies, to get power restored after the storm. United Illuminating said it had doubled the number of field crews it has available. UI crews were to be staged in its service area, so they would not have to travel as far to get to areas where there was damage to the electrical system.

Massachusetts braces for impact

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker urged people vacationing on the Cape to leave well before Henri hits, and those who planned to start vacations there to delay their plans.

“We don’t want people to be stuck in traffic on the Cape Cod bridges when the storm is in full force on Sunday,” he said.

Power outages could occur along the coastline of Rhode Island and Connecticut and areas of Massachusetts around Buzzards Bay.

Rainfall between 3 to 6 inches (7.5 to 15 centimeters) is expected Sunday through Monday over the Northeast. The storm moves very slowly through New England into Tuesday.

This report includes information from The Associated Press, WBUR, and Connecticut Public.

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