Energy & Environment

Henri downgraded to tropical depression as it dumps rain on Northeast

People watch the waves as they stand on a beach as Tropical Storm Henri passes, in Montauk, Long Island
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Henri has been downgraded from a tropical storm to a tropical depression as heavy rains make their way through Connecticut and Massachusetts.

Henri, which made landfall in Rhode Island around 12:15 p.m., was expected to land with hurricane strength. It was downgraded to a tropical storm before arriving in New England, however, to the relief of many.

Had the storm sustained hurricane strength upon making landfall, it would have been the first hurricane to hit New England directly in 30 years, NPR reported

Still, officials have been bracing for heavy rainfall, flooding and loss of power. Around 200 residents in Helmetta, N.J., saw their homes start to flood, forcing people to stay with relatives or go to a hotel, The Associated Press reported.

On Sunday, some bridges in Rhode Island were closed briefly while other roads were difficult to pass through. A coastal flood warning was issued in Boston through Monday while a sea surge was anticipated for Sunday, the wire service noted.

Additionally, more than 130,000 homes were without power due to the storm’s powerful winds.

Speaking to reporters from the Roosevelt Room on Sunday, President Biden said that plans were in place to help New England as states braced for possible damage to the area.

“I’ve already approved emergency declarations for Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New York, which activates funds and means we can — we can get in there and help as soon as this extreme weather has moved through,” Biden said. 

“FEMA has already pre-positioned resources in the region to speed our ability to respond, including food, water, and lifesaving communications equipment, as well as generators” Biden noted. “In close cooperation with the electrical sector, preparations are in place to address significant power outages. And resources and support is staged at the edge of this storm to be able to move quickly in to help.”

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