Crews work to restore power for more than 60,000 as Henri drenches the Northeast
Henri brought storm surge that flooded streets and powerful winds that tore down trees and power lines, complicating restoration efforts.
The storm was downgraded to a tropical depression after making landfall as a tropical storm along the coast of Rhode Island, near Westerly, Sunday morning.
Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee said during a news conference Sunday afternoon that National Grid utility workers quickly began restoration services after the storm hit. The pressure is on to restore power to the region within the next day as temperatures in the 90s are forecast for Tuesday, McKee said.
“Now, as the storm begins to pass out of the state the important work must start for recovery,” McKee said. “We know that that’s an issue and that’s why getting power restored is critical,” he explained.
A state damage assessment team has been deployed to survey the extent of the storm’s destruction. That team and a team from FEMA will tour the area as part of the verification process for the damage assessment plan, according to McKee.
More than 49 million remain under flood watch
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 49 million people remain under a flash flood or flood watch or warning, including coastal flood watches from New Jersey through New Hampshire, according to CNN Meteorologist Michael Guy.
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.
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, Guy said.
The center of the storm will track toward the Connecticut-New York border Sunday night before turning to the east and eventually out to sea beginning Monday afternoon, CNN Weather’s Jackson Dill said.
Connecticut governor warns residents to remain vigilant
Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont urged residents Sunday to remain vigilant as flooding issues are a possibility Monday. 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.
“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,” Eversource President of Regional Electric Operations Craig Hallstrom said in the release. “In addition to the thousands of line and tree crews we have working, we have an army of people behind the scenes supporting a safe restoration.”
He added that crews are working to make sure the 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.
CNN’s Artemis Moshtaghian, Elizabeth Joseph, and Dave Hennen contributed to this report.