Now a tropical storm, Henri hit the coast of Rhode Island on Sunday afternoon, with high winds that knocked out power to thousands of homes and rain that has brought flash flooding to the Northeast. Even as a tropical storm, Henri had wind gusts up to 70mph, the AP reports, and forecasters' expectations didn't change much. In addition to high winds, storm surge and flooding rain are predicted for the region, per ABC; tropical storm warnings have been issued for the stretch from New York to Massachusetts. By noon, thousands of people in Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Massachusetts had already lost power. Inland areas could be hit hardest by rainfall.
Heavy rain in the beach towns of southern Rhode Island has made some coastal roads almost impassable, per the AP. The center of the storm moved past Block Island, which reported 65mph winds, in late morning. Gov. Dan McKee warned residents Sunday to prepare for flooding and the loss of power. "I'm asking you, Rhode Island, to stay home until this storm passes," McKee said. In Massachusetts, tourists were stuck in their cars waiting for a ferry to take them from the islands of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket after the Coast Guard closed ports on Cape Cod and New Bedford. The ports weren't likely to open until after the worst of the storm.
East Hampton Mayor Jerry Larsen said mass evacuations are impractical on the eastern end of Long Island because of the lack of major roads. "We have one lane of travel leaving the Hamptons, so it's a little difficult to order evacuations," Larsen said. "So most people will shelter in place." Gov. Ned Lamont called on Connecticut residents to do the same from Sunday afternoon through at least Monday morning. Major airports in the Northeast were still open, but hundreds of flights have been canceled. Heavy rain caused rail service on Long Island and in southern New England to be shut down, per the New York Times. "I love storms," a 20-year resident of Westerly, RI, said Sunday. "I think they’re exciting, as long as no one gets hurt." (Read more Tropical Storm stories.)