BOSTON (CBS) – Henri made landfall as a powerful tropical storm Sunday afternoon in Westerly, Rhode Island. This is the first tropical storm to make landfall in New England since Beryl in 2006.
As expected, Henri was downgraded from a category 1 hurricane to a tropical storm Sunday morning as it encountered cooler ocean water and began to slow down its forward speed. As mentioned Saturday, this is NOT a reason to let your guard down or take the storm less seriously, it is simply a drop in 5-10 mph of maximum sustained wind speed.
TRACK OF HENRI
After landing in Rhode Island, it will head northwest, inland through Connecticut and western Massachusetts. By Sunday night, what is left of Henri will be somewhere near the New York border in western New England.
The remnants will slowly degrade and spin around in that area for a good part of Monday before finally getting picked up and pushed eastward Monday night. Finally, by Tuesday morning, the system will move offshore and out to sea.
The heaviest rainfall will be to the west of the track, which is typical of a tropical system. This puts portions of Central Massachusetts and more so Western Massachusetts and Connecticut in the crosshairs for a long period of very heavy rain.
Rain totals in those areas are likely to be in the 3-6 inches range with some higher amounts possible. From Worcester County eastward, the rain will be more in bands and waves, stopping and starting through Sunday evening.
Parts of eastern MA could receive an inch or two of rain, not likely enough for any massive flooding issues, but some localized flooding is possible. We get a lull in the rainfall locally Sunday night into early Monday before the downpours return later on Monday as the remnants of Henri swing back through.
This could actually be the time period when central/eastern Massachusetts receive their greatest rainfall.
Winds will be strongest and most damaging Sunday. Expect frequent gusts from 40-65 mph along the South Coast, Cape and Islands and into parts of southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island as well. Some isolated locations near the South Coast could get gusts as high as 70-75 mph. Expect numerous downed trees and power outages in this high wind zone.
Further inland, including areas north and west of Boston, the winds won’t be as strong, gusting 30-50 mph at times. This is still enough to produce some tree damage and power outages.
As the storm pulls off to the north and west this evening and also continues to weaken, the winds will gradually ramp down, below damaging levels.
East coast beaches have a midday high tide, while most south coastal beaches in the Narragansett/Buzzards Bay area have an earlier high tide, just before 9 a.m. Expect local storm surges as high as 2-3 feet, enough to wash out some coastal roads for a period of time later Sunday morning through early Sunday afternoon.
Sunday night’s high tide will likely be less impactful with Henri well inland, although seas will remain rough so some minor flooding/splashover is likely.
As always, we urge that you stay tuned to WBZ-TV, CBSBoston and CBSN Boston for important updates leading up to and during the storm.