Crews work to restore power for tens of thousands as Henri drenches the Northeast

23August 2021

Henri brought a storm surge that flooded streets and powerful winds that tore down trees and power lines, complicating restoration efforts.
On Monday morning, more than 65,000 customers were without power, including 42,000 in Rhode Island and almost 10,000 in Connecticut, according to PowerOutage.us.
By late Monday afternoon, crews had cut the number of customers without power to 37,000, with roughly 25,000 of those in Rhode Island, 5,900 in Pennsylvania and 1,900 each in Connecticut and New Jersey.
The storm was downgraded to a tropical depression after making landfall Sunday morning as a tropical storm along the coast of Rhode Island, near Westerly.
Speaking Monday in coastal South Kingston, Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee said 65% of the town remained without power after 75% of it lost power on Sunday.
“The National Grid is really responding very, very, very quickly to my request to accelerate getting people back with their power,” McKee said. “It is both a health issue and it’s an economic issue, and the health issue is coming very quickly.”
Rhode Island was hit about 15% to 20% harder in terms of power outages than Massachusetts and Connecticut, McKee said.
Terence Sobolewski, interim president of National Grid New England, said more than 500 line crews and more than 200 street crews were in the area in South Kingstown and surrounding communities. He said most restoration should be completed by the end Tuesday.
A state damage assessment team has been deployed. That team and one from the Federal Emergency Management Agency will tour the area as part of the verification process for a damage assessment plan, McKee said.

Millions remain under flood alert

Although Henri has weakened to a tropical depression, with damaging winds and storm surge subsiding, the threat of flooding in the Northeast remains.
More than 33 million people initially were under a flash flood or flood watch or warning, including coastal flood watches from New Jersey through New Hampshire, CNN meteorologist Dave Hennen said Monday morning. That number was down to about 5 million later in the day.
Slow-moving Tropical Storm Henri makes landfall along the coast of Rhode Island
Additional rainfall totals of 1 to 3 inches are expected on top of what has already fallen, Hennen said.
Up to 12 inches of rain is possible throughout northern New Jersey and southern New York, which could cause flash urban and small stream flooding, CNN meteorologist Michael Guy said.
Previous rainfall in the region had already saturated the ground and that, coupled with new heavy rain from Henri, could result in inland flooding on rivers and lakes, along with coastal flooding through portions of New England, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
The center of the storm will track east from New York over Massachusetts and out to sea by mid-morning Tuesday, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The remnants of Henri spawned three weak, short-lived tornadoes in Massachusetts on Monday, according to the National Weather Service office in Boston.
The tornadoes touched down in the towns of Marlborough, Bolton and Stow. Each tornado was on the ground for less than a mile and caused minimal damage with winds between 60 and 70 mph.

Connecticut governor warns residents to stay vigilant

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont urged residents to remain vigilant as flooding is still a possibility. He said he’s thankful that his state didn’t see the worst of the storm’s effects.
Instead, Connecticut is sending resources to Rhode Island to help it recuperate, Lamont said.
Tennessee flooding leaves 21 people dead and around 20 others missing
Eversouce, a utility that serves Connecticut, had “thousands of line and tree crews” working, plus “an army of people behind the scenes supporting a safe restoration,” president of regional electric operations Craig Hallstrom said Sunday in a news release.
“While the shift in Henri’s track spared Connecticut from the devastation it could have caused, the storm delivered the expected heavy rains, further saturating grounds that were already soaked from the remnants of Tropical Storm Fred and other storms,” he said.
Crews are working to make sure power is restored before the arrival of high temperatures forecast for later this week.
“We realize how difficult it is to be without power, especially on hot and humid days like we’re expecting this coming week and we’re committed to staying on the job until every customer has their power restored,” Hallstrom said.

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