Tropical storm Henri makes landfall in Rhode Island, to bring high winds and heavy rain to Upper Valley

The storm will weaken rapidly over land, but still poses a danger, the National Hurricane Center says.

by The Dartmouth Senior Staff | 8/22/21 1:37pm

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The NHC's 2 p.m. update showed Henri impacting New Hampshire through Monday. 

Source: National Hurricane Center

Tropical storm Henri, which was downgraded from a Category 1 hurricane earlier today, will likely bring several inches of rain and strong winds to the Upper Valley through Monday, according to projections from the National Hurricane Center. Localized flash flooding is also a possibility, given the high ground saturation from an already rainy summer. 

Henri made landfall in Rhode Island around 12:15 pm, the NHC said, and will move through Rhode Island and Connecticut traveling northwest before making a sharp right turn across eastern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire. 

The storm will weaken, NHC director Ken Graham told WMUR Sunday morning, as it travels over land, creating conditions of periodic rainfall for New Hampshire. Though the wind speeds by the time the storm reaches New Hampshire are likely to be sub-tropical — less than 39 miles per hour — Graham cautioned that gusts could still pose dangers. 

“Once you get inland, the winds are going to come down pretty rapidly,” he told WMUR on Sunday. “But the thing is, with saturated soil, and you get these tropical rains, even a gust to 25 or 30 miles an hour could still knock down some trees in a situation with saturated soil.”

NHC mapping shows that the Upper Valley has between a 20% and 30% chance of seeing tropical-storm force winds. It also indicates that most of the Upper Valley will likely receive between two and four inches of rain on average, but cautions that “local point maximum rainfall may be higher than shown.” 

The governors of New York and Connecticut have declared states of emergency in certain counties for their respective states, and President Joe Biden declared a state of emergency in Rhode Island. More than 100,000 customers have lost power in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, where storm winds have reached up to 60 miles per hour. In Washington County, Rhode Island, two thirds of customers have lost power. 

In a Friday emailed statement, Dartmouth’s vice president for communications Justin Anderson wrote that “Dartmouth’s emergency management team monitors weather and other conditions that may affect campus operations. Dartmouth staff are actively monitoring forecasts and would be in touch with the community as necessary.”

The NHC updates its storm trajectory forecasts every three hours. The next update will come at 2:00 p.m.

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