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New England Prepares for Hurricane's Direct Hit

Henri is a tropical storm now but could gain strength over the weekend
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 20, 2021 5:30 PM CDT
New England Prepares for a Rarity: a Hurricane
Robin Berthet watches his sailboat being lifted out of the water Friday in Plymouth, Mass., ahead of a storm expected this weekend.   (AP Photo/Phil Marcelo)

(Newser) – In a time of rare weather events, New England is preparing for another one: a hurricane. On Friday, the National Hurricane Center issued a hurricane watch for much of New England, saying Tropical Storm Henri probably will become a hurricane and hit the Northeast coast over the weekend, NPR reports. It's been 30 years—as of Thursday—since a hurricane has hit the region. Hurricane Bob, which made landfall in Rhode Island as a Category 2 storm, killed at least 17 people and caused damage surpassing $1.5 billion. Henri was "almost a hurricane" on Friday, the hurricane center said; its winds hit 70mph, while a hurricane has sustained winds of at least 74mph. Winds from Henri could reach shore late Saturday.

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Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker advised vacationers to leave Cape Cod soon. "We don't want people to be stuck in traffic on the Cape Cod bridges when the storm is in full force on Sunday," Baker said. As many as 1,000 National Guard troops are on standby to help with evacuations, per the AP. The storm's path isn't entirely clear, but the National Weather Service suggested it develop into a hurricane Saturday, then make landfall on Long Island and turn north. Storm surge is a major concern. Rainfall of 2 to 5 inches was predicted for Sunday through Monday in the region, possibly reaching 8 inches in spots. Officials warned residents in the Hamptons that streets could be flooded. North Carolina could face rip currents and rough surf caused by Henri, the weather service said. (Read more hurricane stories.)

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