Rare tropical storm hits northeastern United States
Tropical Storm Henri slammed into Rhode Island on the U.S. east coast on Sunday, cutting power to thousands of Americans, uprooting trees and causing record rainfall before weakening as it crossed New England.
The storm – previously downgraded from a Category 1 hurricane – made landfall near the town of Westerly around 12:15 p.m. (4:15 p.m. GMT), the National Weather Service reported.
Warming causes cyclones to become more powerful and carry more water, posing a growing threat to coastal communities around the world, scientists say.
The United States’ National Hurricane Center (NHC) said Henry produced maximum sustained gusts of 60 mph, lower than the gusts of 75 mph predicted earlier.
By mid-afternoon, the NHC had lifted all surge warnings and early reports from residents indicated the storm was not as severe as projections feared, although in Groton, Conn. fallen trees threatened some houses.
Residents of Long Island, home to the lavish Hamptons villages where wealthy New Yorkers retreat in the summer, have expressed relief that the storm’s path has skirted east of them.
– Abandoned concert –
In Helmetta, 30 miles to the south, volunteer firefighters waded waist-deep in water to help evacuate residents from water pipes that stood dangerously close to their homes.
More than 200 flights have been canceled at Newark Airport while New York’s LaGuardia and JFK airports have canceled nearly 200 of them, they said.
“We are doing all we can now to help these states prepare, respond and recover,” he told reporters.
Henri missed New York City by several miles, but still caused tropical storms overnight and throughout Sunday, when a flash flood warning was in effect until 5:45 p.m.
The rain on Saturday night forced New York to interrupt a star-studded concert in Central Park billed as a “homecoming” for a metropolis hit hard by the pandemic.
The National Weather Service said 1.94 inches of rain fell in the park between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. Saturday, the wettest hour on record in the city of eight million people.
Prior to decommissioning, Henry was to be the first hurricane to hit New England in 30 years. Hurricane Bob in 1991 killed at least 17 people.
bur-pdh / ft