Storm Watch: Parts Of MA Under Tropical Storm Warning, Flood Watch


BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) – Here are the latest updates regarding Tropical Storm Henri, as the storm makes landfall in New England. Please stay tuned to WBZ NewsRadio and check back here for updates.

UPDATE (8/22 @ 8:00 p.m.): The National Hurricane Center has downgraded Henri to a Tropical Depression. The storm is weakening but still able to produce heavy rainfall and flooding across portions of Southern New England and the Northern Mid-Atlantic States through Monday.

Henri will continue northwestward overnight and weaken further. Remnants will head eastward again on Monday.

Heavy rainfall in Western Massachusetts and Northern Connecticut early this evening will shift westward into New York overnight. Any gusty winds will subside this evening.

Surges of 1 to 1.5 feet along the Rhode Island and Massachusetts coastline may lead to minor coastal flooding and a few road closures around the times of high tide tonight. Showers and some thunderstorms will redevelop Monday in western portions of southern New England, then spread eastward across the entire region.

Heavy downpours with saturated soils could quickly lead to localized flash flooding Monday. Also, there is a low risk of an isolated tornado. There is also concern for areas with any lingering power outages, since Heat Index values climb to 90 degrees Tuesday and the mid to upper 90s midweek.

The MEMA Massachusetts Power Outages tracker indicates 5,185 power outages in the state, as of 8:02 p.m.

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UPDATE (8/22 @ 4:20 p.m.): The National Weather Service has Henri on a northwest track, set to continue through Western Massachusetts and into Eastern New York overnight into Monday. The storm is then expected to make an abrupt eastward turn, tracking through Southern Vermont and Central New Hampshire.

Impacts in Eastern Massachusetts are mostly over. There may be some breaks of sun across Cape Cod and the Islands tonight, as well as Eastern Massachusetts tomorrow.

Substantial rain is still expected in Western Massachusetts, including Berkshire County and Central Massachusetts, west of Worcester.

The National Weather Service says the worst flooding they have seen, up to this point, is in Manchester, Conn. A few residential areas in the area had to be evacuated.

UPDATE (8/22 @ 4:10 p.m.): As of 4 p.m., The Steamship Authority has been cleared to resume service. The following will be the first trips to leave:

  • 5:20 p.m. from Vineyard Haven
  • 5:20 p.m. from Woods Hole
  • 5:30 p.m. from Hyannis
  • 5:30 p.m. from Nantucket

Note: MV Iyanough will not run for the rest of the night. Also, the 5:20 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. trips from Martha's Vineyard were previously canceled, but the Authority says those trips will run tonight.

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UPDATE (8/22 @ 2:45 p.m.): Hundreds of flights have been canceled across New England today, including 226 at Boston Logan International Airport, 69 at Rhode Island T. F. Green International Airport, and 99 at Bradley International Airport in Connecticut, according to FlightAware.

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UPDATE (8/22 @ 2:00 p.m.): A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for East Rockaway Inlet in New York to Chatham, Mass., including Long Island, N.Y. Block Island, R.I. Nantucket, Mass. and Martha's Vineyard, Mass.

Rough surf, rip currents, and coastal flooding problems continue in the area.

For the remainder of the afternoon and this evening, it will be windy and variably cloudy with showers in the Greater Boston Area, according to AccuWeather. Peak winds will gust to between 40 and 50 mph in many areas.

Rainfall totals of roughly 1-2 inches are expected from Boston out to the Cape, with 2-4 inches inland and 4-6 inches likely in western Massachusetts and Connecticut through tonight.

Watch for flash flooding and wind damage, as well as power outages. There will also be dangerous coastal flooding and inundation, most likely along the South Coast of Rhode Island and Massachusetts, along with the Cape and Islands. Temperatures will stay in the 70s.

Tomorrow will be cloudy, breezy and humid with some showers. High 80-85.

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UPDATE (8/22 @ 2:00 p.m.): The National Weather Service has declared a Flash Flood Warning which includes Springfield MA, Chicopee MA, and Westfield MA until 5:45 p.m. EDT. This means flooding is imminent or occurring. If in a flood prone area, seek higher ground. Do not drive through flooded roadways.

The MEMA Massachusetts Power Outages tracker indicates 11,765 power outages in the state, as of 1:47 p.m.

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UPDATE (8/22 @ 1:00 p.m.): The Newport, Jamestown, and Mt. Hope Bridges in R.I. are reopened to traffic. Restrictions for high profile vehicles remain in place until further notice.

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UPDATE (8/22 @ 12:40 p.m.): Tropical Storm Henri has made landfall near Westerly, R.I., according to the Associated Press. The National Weather Service marks time of landfall at 12:15 p.m. EDT:

Here are the current power outages across the region, as of 12:30 p.m. via National Weather Service Boston:

  • Rhode Island: 74,923
  • Connecticut: 19,956
  • Massachusetts: 6,816

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UPDATE (8/22 @ 12:20 p.m.): The MEMA Massachusetts Power Outages tracker indicates 6,639 power outages in the state, as of 12:17 p.m.

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UPDATE (8/22 @ 11:50 a.m.): According to poweroutage.us, there are 66,837 power outages in R.I, 12,591 in Conn. and 5,389 in Mass., as of 11:46 a.m.

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UPDATE (8/22 @ 11:00 a.m.): The Mount Hope, Newport Pell, and Jamestown Verrazzano bridges in R.I. have been closed to traffic as Tropical Storm Henri approaches. #Henri #RITBA

R.I. Governor Dan McKee has implemented a travel ban on the state’s roadways for all tractor-trailers and motorcycles, except those carrying emergency supplies, until further notice.

UPDATE (8/22 @ 10:30 a.m.): Tropical Storm Henri is approaching the southern New England coast. At 10 a.m., Henri was 30 mi east/southeast of Montauk Point, N.Y. and 60 mi south of Providence, R.I. Henri is moving to the north/northwest at 14 mph with maximum sustained winds of 65 mph.

Due to storm impact, American Red Cross blood drives at Lawrence Memorial Hospital in Medford and La Salette Shrine Welcome Center in Attleboro on Sunday and the Osterville Village Library on Monday have been canceled.

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UPDATE (8/22 @ 9:30 a.m.): All service on both the Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket Steamship Authority routes is canceled through 5 p.m., including the 5 p.m. departures from Vineyard Haven and Woods Hole.

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UPDATE (8/22 @ 9:10 a.m.): Henri is approximately 70 miles from Providence with max sustained wind gusts of 69 mph, according to AccuWeather.

Here’s the view from Menemsha on Martha’s Vineyard:

Photo: JR Thomas

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UPDATE (8/22 @ 8:45 a.m.):

The Red Sox game scheduled for today has been postponed due to the potential impact of Tropical Storm Henri in New England. The game has been rescheduled for Monday at 1:10 p.m. Tickets for Sunday’s game will be good for admission to the rescheduled contest.

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UPDATE (8/22 @ 7:00 a.m.): The National Hurricane Center downgraded Henri from a hurricane to a tropical storm in its 7 a.m. update Sunday. Forecasters say, regardless of the storm’s status, it is still very dangerous.

Henri is currently about 60 miles south/southeast of Montauk, NY and 100 miles south of Providence RI. The storm is traveling about 18 mph and a slowdown is expected as it reaches landfall.

Henri is expected to make landfall near Narragansett Bay Rhode Island by midday. Bands of rain are now pushing from south to north through southern New England. Each band of rain comes with gusty wind in the threat for severe weather. That means embedded isolated tornadoes are possible. Wind is mostly from the east and southeast gusting past 50 mph near the coast.

The outer bands of Henri are moving onshore in eastern Long Island and southern New England.

Away from the coast, rainfall is the biggest story. Torrential downpours are likely near the center and to the west of Henri’s track. Flood watches are in effect for much of central and western New England, where some of us may see more than four inches of rain. Somewhere, likely west of the Connecticut River toward the New York border, we may even see amounts approaching 8-10 inches Sunday.

New Jersey and New York are reporting serious flash flooding events.

In Massachusetts, forecasters are saying the central and western parts of the state will be hit the hardest. Torrential rain and flooding are the biggest concerns in that area. Worcester already has had more rain this summer than at any time in its recorded history. More rain from this storm is a huge concern there.

The U.S. Coast Guard has closed all ports to traffic. As a result, all Steamship Authority trips through noon have been canceled.

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UPDATE (8/22 @ 5:00 a.m.): The track has shifted slightly eastward, with landfall (as a strong tropical storm or low-end Category 1 hurricane) expected between eastern Long Island and Narragansett Bay during the early afternoon.

Impacts of the storm are expected to be felt through early Monday, with heavy rain lingering into the day as Henri weakens rapidly over land.

Threats include the potential for inland flooding rains, especially for Connecticut into western and central MA, storm surge flooding and beach erosion along the south coast and damaging winds east of the tracks, with RI at the highest risk.

Hurricane Warnings are in effect for coastal RI (including Block Island) and portions of southern CT. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for inland CT, RI, portions of MA including Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket. A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for all of CT, RI, and southern MA coastlines as far north as Chatham.

Here are the most likely times of arrival of tropical storm force winds today, according to the National Weather Service:

Dangerous winds may gust to 60-70+ mph in southern RI as Henri makes landfall, then weaken as the storm heads northwest.

Elsewhere, winds may gust to 30-50 mph over portions of northeast CT, central and eastern MA, and northern RI during the late morning and afternoon, rapidly diminishing after about 9 PM this evening.

Storm surge flooding is likely, with inundation greater than 3 ft (2-4 ft) above ground level possible along the south coast. Narragansett Bay is most at risk.

Maximum surge may come at low tide during the early afternoon on the south coast. But, evening tide could still be a problem, since southerly flow may prevent water from evacuating bays and harbors.

The east coast of MA north of Plymouth could experience up to a foot of inundation.

According to the National Weather Service, the heavy rain axis has shifted westward into CT and western/central MA. Up to 6-10 inches is possible in areas (track dependent):

Areas outlined in red have the greatest potential for flash flooding today and tonight:

There is a low risk of an isolated tornado, mainly this morning through mid-afternoon:

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UPDATE (8/21 @ 11:00 p.m.): The latest forecast from the National Hurricane Center has the track of Henri shifted east and slowed a bit. This would shift the wind threat a bit further east, as well. Overall, the National Weather Service says that potential threats have not changed significantly after the shift.

The storm is now roughly 200 miles south of southern New England with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph.

Acting Boston Mayor Kim Janey will hold a press conference at 8 a.m. Sunday.

The storm has already prompted transportation disruptions. Amtrak service between New York and Boston is canceled on Sunday. Lake Shore Limited, Vermonter and Springfield service is also affected. For reservation assistance, please text or call 800-USA-RAIL. Hy-Line Cruises has cancelled all ferry service for Sunday. Service is expected to resume Monday. The Steamship Authority says they are still monitoring the forecast.

The total damage and economic loss from Henri is estimated to be between $8 billion and $12 billion, according to AccuWeather Founder and CEO Dr. Joel N. Myers. According to Myers, storm surge will be the biggest hazard that Henri poses to the region.

On Saturday, President Joe Biden approved an emergency declaration for the state of Rhode Island ahead of Hurricane Henri’s landfall.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio declared a state of emergency for the city on Saturday afternoon as the Northeast awaits landfall of Hurricane Henri.

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UPDATE (8/21 @ 5:00 p.m.): Hurricane Henri has sped up just a bit, which means the storm will track more to the east than previously forecasted this morning, per the National Weather Service. There are now models anticipating landfall around Montauk, NY.

There is a Tropical Storm and Storm Surge Warning in effect for the South Coast and islands. A storm Surge Watch is in effect north of Chatham to Sagamore Beach and Cape Cod Bay. A hurricane warning is in effect for Rhode Island and Connecticut.

AccuWeather is forecasting Henri to make landfall late tomorrow morning on eastern Long Island as a Category One hurricane. While rough surf, rip currents and coastal flooding will begin tonight, conditions will deteriorate even more tomorrow as Henri nears. There may be extensive property damage and flooding, especially in Rhode Island, along the South Coast, Cape and Islands.

Saturday evening will begin dry. Then, rain will arrive from the south after midnight with winds picking up. Watch for coastal flooding.

AccuWeather expects Henri to make landfall on Eastern Long Island during midday Sunday. Across eastern Massachusetts, expect strong winds and times of heavy rain. Peak winds gusting around 40-50 mph in many areas, but as high as 80 mph across Rhode Island. Rainfall totals of 1-2 inches generally, while 4-8 inches is likely in western Massachusetts.

Watch for flash flooding and possible wind damage, as well as power outages. There will also be dangerous coastal flooding and inundation, most likely along the South Coast, Cape and Islands.

Monday will be cloudy, breezy and humid with occasional rain from Henri.

Ahead of Henri reaching Boston, the city has prepared the following proactive measures to ensure a safe, coordinated, citywide response:

Outdoor Dining and Outdoor Events

  • The City’s Open Newbury event has been cancelled for Sunday, August 22.
  • All restaurants with outdoor dining have been notified to store or secure any tables, chairs and other restaurant equipment.

Boston Water & Sewer Commission (BWSC):

  • Has been clearing catch basins in flood-prone areas.
  • Has messaged out helpful information for citizen partners to assist catch basin clearing.
  • Has additional crews on to manage all aspects of water and sewage management, drainage and water.
  • Has activated their Extreme Weather Operations Center.
  • BWSC is mobilizing additional staff starting at midnight tonight and increased staffing at 8 am for the duration of the storm. Low lying areas have been inspected and will be key areas where staff will be deployed during the storm. Assistance from residents on reporting issues to 617-989-7900 and clearing debris from catch basins will expedite resolution of issues. Key times will be at high tide, which will occur around noon.

Boston Parks and Recreation:

  • Has contractors and staff lined up for Sunday for downed trees.
  • Has been in coordination with the utility companies around any downed wires.
  • Will have additional Tree Division crews working.
  • Have contracted tree removal crews to assist with downed trees.
  • Will have additional heavy equipment operators available.
  • Working in partnership with the City’s Energy and Environment Department to monitor sea levels and storm surge and their related impacts on flooding.

Boston Public Works (DPW):

  • Suspended all non-emergency roadway construction.
  • Has extra crews on for Sunday to support Parks and roadway access as needed.
  • Regular trash and recycling is still on for Monday.

Boston Inspection Services (ISD):

  • Has notified all building construction sites of the oncoming storm, with a focus on sites with scaffolding and cranes. Site management was advised to secure all equipment and materials
  • Has added additional building, electrical, and mechanical inspectors for Sunday to respond to any issues that arise.

Civic Engagement:

  • The City has added staff to the 311 call center for Sunday. 311 will have extra staff on the phones and handling mobile service requests starting at 7am and throughout the day with the ability to extend shifts if necessary.
  • 311 will bring in staff earlier on Monday morning to deal with any influx of calls and mobile service requests in the aftermath of the storm. Office of Neighborhood Services (ONS) coordinators are ready to help on the phones if necessary.
  • The City has sent out storm notification messages through AlertBoston and robocalls.

Office of Emergency Management (OEM):

  • The City’s Emergency Operations Centers will be activated throughout the storm and continue to monitor forecast conditions and coordinate inter-agency operations
  • OEM is maintaining open lines of communication with MEMA and NGO partners.
  • Coordinated citywide storm preparation and response calls have been held to ensure situational awareness and alignment of all city departments in the response.

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UPDATE (8/21 @ 3:30 p.m.): During a 3:30 p.m. public briefing, MA Governor Charlie Baker said that, although the immediate Boston area will not likely get hit with the worst effects of Hurricane Henri, "This is New England and this is hurricane season, so please continue to pay attention" to the latest forecasts. "We plan and prepare for the worst, and hope we never have to use those plans, and hopefully this time, it will be the case," Baker said.

Baker said that MA will be ready to help neighbors in NY, RI and CT.

Officials said Logan Airport plans to stay open and operational but expect ferry delays and cancellations into Monday. Anyone traveling via ferry, trains or planes should check with their provider ahead of time to ensure services are running.

In a statement, MEMA officials said they are coordinating with local partners in Western and Central MA, given the forecast for heavy rains and flooding. Their response partners are adjusting plans so that they are prepared to support both these areas and other parts of the state that may be impacted by Henri.

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UPDATE (8/21 @ 2 p.m.): Tropical Storm force winds should reach the south coast of MA around lunchtime on Sunday, according to the National Weather Service. Here is the probability of Tropical Storm force winds through 8 p.m. on Monday:

Photo: National Weather Service

Henry is currently a Category 1 Hurricane with max sustained wind gusts of 75 mph and max wind gusts of 92 mph. The storm is approximately 395 miles from Montauk Point, New York.

Henri will likely remain a category 1 hurricane through Sunday morning, according to WBZ-TV’s Executive Weather Producer, Meteorologist Terry Eliasen. The storm is expected to weaken before making landfall, likely to sub-hurricane status, as it encounters ocean waters that are cooler than what a typical hurricane needs to survive and thrive. It’s important to note that there are some semantics at play here – the difference between a Category 1 hurricane and a Tropical Storm can be as little as 5-10 miles per hour of wind speed. So, regardless of whether it weakens or not, we should not let our guard down.

Some outer rain bands are expected up into southern New England, between 6 and 10 a.m. Expect intermittent showers and downpours mixed with dry periods Sunday morning. Winds will be picking up along the South Shore, Cape and Islands at this time. Eliasen expects sustained 12-25 mph winds with gusts to 40 mph on the Outer Cape and Islands during this period.

Henri is expected to weaken to a Tropical Storm between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., likely making landfall in the latter half of this window. Rain bands will continue to pinwheel northward into New England, with off and on downpours as the bands pass through. Winds will be reaching their peak on the South Coast, Cape and Islands in this timeframe, with sustained winds of 25-35 mph and gusts between 30-60 mph expected.

The storm is expected to have just made landfall or come ashore early in the 2-6 p.m. window on Sunday, somewhere between eastern Long Island and western Rhode Island. It will then make a left hook into western CT, western MA, and New York State. The heaviest rainfall will be to the west of the track. Central and eastern MA will be on the right side of the track, where the downpours will be more off and on and banded as opposed to one large area of heavy rain. While some inland flooding is anticipated, given our high water table, we should avoid the worst-case scenario of 5-10” of rain, which would have led to massive flooding issues.

The winds will peak in the early to mid-afternoon and then start to ramp down by Sunday evening, with sustained winds of 15-30 mph in eastern MA. Some gusts over 40mph will remain in central and western MA, closer to the storm’s center. The worst of the wind should be behind us by Sunday night.

By Sunday night, the center of Henri will be somewhere between western CT and eastern New York, south of Albany. Henri will be losing its tropical characteristics very rapidly and will continue to spin itself out overnight.

The remnants of Henri will still be around to affect the New England area on Monday. The main lingering concern is for some additional heavy rainfall as it finally begins to push north and east and out of our area Monday night. There is potential for several inches of rainfall later Monday in parts of our area which could prompt renewed flooding concerns.

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UPDATE (8/21 @ 11 a.m.): Henri is now a hurricane, with sustained winds of 75 miles per hour. Tropical Storm Warnings have been expanded to include the Cape and Nantucket, while the Hurricane Warning has expanded to include the southern RI coast including Newport.

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The latest models for Hurricane Henri have shifted west and the National Weather Service has the storm making landfall near eastern Long Island, NY. As a result, the Hurricane Watch has been discontinued for southeastern MA. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for inland CT, coastal RI, and the south coast of MA to Martha’s Vineyard.

A flood watch is in effect for western and central Massachusetts, with a potential for flooding rains inland. A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for all of RI and the southern MA coastline as far north as Chatham, which could mean inundation greater than 3 feet. Beach erosion is also possible.

As of 5 a.m. this morning, Henri is located about 530 miles south of Montauk Pt. Long Island and is moving north/northwest at 12 miles per hour. AccuWeather is forecasting the storm to make landfall late Sunday morning on eastern Long Island as a Category 1 hurricane.

Rough surf, rip currents and coastal flooding will begin late today, then conditions will deteriorate even more tonight and tomorrow as Henri nears. There may be extensive property damage and flooding, especially in Rhode Island, along the South Coast, Cape, and Islands. Forecasters say the strongest winds are expected to be east of the storm’s track, while the heaviest rains are expected west of it.

Expect pockets of heavy rain and wind tomorrow, with peak winds gusting as high as 40-60 mph in many areas of MA, but as high as 80 mph across Rhode Island. Rainfall will bring 2-4 inches to Boston, the South Shore, the South Coast, the Cape and the Islands, while 4-8 inches is likely in central MA and western Massachusetts, as well as Rhode Island.

The combination of rain and wind could lead to extensive flooding and possible wind damage, as well as power outages. There'll also be dangerous coastal flooding and inundation, most likely along the South Coast, Cape and Islands.

Impacts, especially wind and rain, will likely linger Sunday night into Monday, especially if Henri slows down. That would only exacerbate flooding concerns.

Stay tuned to WBZ NewsRadio all weekend for the latest developments.


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