extreme weather

Henri Brings Deluge of Record Rainfall to Northeast

The threat of flooding from the now-tropical depression persists.

Satellite image of Henri nearing landfall in southeast New England on Sunday afternoon. Photo: NOAA/GOES-East
Satellite image of Henri nearing landfall in southeast New England on Sunday afternoon. Photo: NOAA/GOES-East

Tropical Depression Henri made landfall at tropical storm strength near Westerly, Rhode Island, around 12:15 p.m. Sunday afternoon, bringing nearly 60 mph sustained winds, a dangerous storm surge, and what continues to be wave upon wave of torrential rainfall to the region. Henri was downgraded from a Category 1 hurricane on Sunday morning, and has been weakening and slowly moving north-northwest ever since. Some 140,000 households lost power across the Northeast at the peak of the outages on Sunday afternoon. The biggest remaining threat is flooding from rainfall across southern New England and the northern mid-Atlantic states, particularly if the storm’s forward progress stalls.

The risk from flash floods hasn’t yet passed

Though Henri has weakened considerably as it has moved inland, it’s still a very wet storm, and several states remain at risk from flash floods heading into the week, as the Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang explains:

Flash-flood warnings continued to be in effect around New York City into Sunday evening, as two to four inches of rain had fallen since Sunday morning with up to another two to four inches possible — in addition to several inches of rain that fell Saturday night. Other areas that could experience flooding rain through Sunday night into Monday include northern New Jersey, the Poconos, Catskills, western Connecticut and Massachusetts, and southern Vermont.

The National Weather Service has placed much of the Northeast in an elevated-risk zone for flash flooding through early Tuesday, with the highest risk covering the Poconos, northern New Jersey, New York City, the Catskills, Connecticut and western Massachusetts. The entire zone is expected to see at least three to six inches of rain, with isolated double-digit totals.

Part of I-91 briefly closed in central Connecticut due to flooding

Interstate 91 northbound just south of Hartford was closed for more than an hour on Sunday afternoon after part of the highway flooded amid the rainfall.

X marks the unlucky spot

Flash-flood watches and warnings are in effect through Monday night across region

The New York City area is forecast to receive another three to five inches of rain on Sunday, and remains under flash-flood watch through Monday evening — as does much of the Northeast. Over 35 million people were under a flood watch as of Sunday morning.

Six inches or more of rain have already fallen in parts of New Jersey

Flash floods inundated Middlesex County overnight Saturday, forcing the closure of multiple roads and the flooding of homes and businesses in Cranbury and Milltown. There was also flooding in Hoboken and Newark, where more than 80 people had to be rescued from flood-stranded cars.

Another one to six inches of rain was expected in the state on Sunday.

A one-hour rainfall record in New York City

Henri’s outer bands dumped a lot of water on New York City on Saturday night. The National Weather Service reports that the 4.45 inches of rain that fell in Central Park on Saturday was the most daily rainfall recorded in the city since 2014. 1.94 inches of that rain fell between 10 and 11 p.m. — the most rainfall ever recorded in a single hour there. There was also significant flash flooding in several parts of the city:

New York City mayor Bill de Blasio declared a state of emergency on Saturday afternoon ahead of the storm, and on Saturday night, the city’s much-heralded We Love NYC homecoming concert on Central Park’s Great Lawn was forced to end early thanks to the threat of lightning from the first band of thunderstorms preceding Henri. (Barry Manilow kept performing amid the announcement, and the Killers later performed a FaceTimed acoustic set on CNN from backstage.)

New York City mayor Bill de Blasio tells the crowd to leave in front of a “safety message” warning after the We Love NYC: The Homecoming Concert was canceled due to storms from Hurricane Henri, on the Great Lawn in Central Park on Saturday night. Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Governor Andrew Cuomo (who remains in power until Kathy Hochul is sworn in on Monday night) also announced Saturday that more than a dozen counties were under states of emergency due to Henri.

This post has been updated.

Henri Brings Deluge of Record Rainfall to Northeast