New York, Aug 22 (EFE).- Tropical Storm Henri made landfall at 12:15 am Sunday near the town of Westerly, Rhode Island, packing maximum sustained winds of 60 miles per hour, according to the Miami-based National Hurricane Center, and bringing flooding, wind damage, power outages and flight cancellations across much of New England.
Winds, storm surge and heavy rain are the main effects of Henri, which – although it weakened from a hurricane back to a tropical storm on Saturday night – is battering the coast of New York state and southern New England.
More than 80,000 homes are without electricity and local streets have been transformed into lakes in Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey and other areas in the region.
The region has not suffered a direct hit from such a large storm in 30 years.
According to the specialized AccuWeather Web site, in 1991 Hurricane Bob made landfall in Rhode Island with winds exceeding 100 mph, causing severe flooding in coastal areas of that state and also in Massachusetts, with damage from that storm estimated at some $1 billion at the time.
The NHC is forecasting that the center of Henri will continue moving more slowly over land and its winds will rapidly decrease, but it will still dump copious amounts of rain throughout the region.
The storm is currently moving to the north-northwest at 7 mph and will slow even further in the coming hours.
Henri will probably remain over the coastal zone between the states of Connecticut and New York overnight, and on Monday it will make a turn to the east-northeast and move over northern Connecticut and southern Massachusetts on Monday.
A state of emergency was declared in Connecticut and for about two dozen New York counties, including New York City, according to the NHC.
In Connecticut, about 25,000 homes are without power and state Gov. Ned Lamont said that although the storm is packing reduced winds now, heavy rain and flooding will continue to be the main risks.
So far, the New York zones experiencing the most rainfall has been Brooklyn, with 8.6 inches, and Central Park with 7 in.
Henri forced organizers to cancel a mega-concert scheduled to celebrate the reopening of the Big Apple after a year of pandemic semi-shutdown.
In New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy said Sunday that the major worry now is flooding, especially in the central part of the state, adding that about 4,500 homes were without power early on Sunday afternoon.
The storm, which briefly became the third hurricane of this year’s Atlantic Hurricane Season before dropping in strength back to tropical storm force, brought storm surge of up to five feet at some spots along the coast.
In addition to storm surge, which in combination with high tides could cause flooding in certain coastal zones, Henri will also continue to batter the area with strong winds and possible tornado activity in New England, according to the NHC.