Henri lingers over Northeast, dropping more rain on saturated ground

Slow-moving tropical depression Henri lingered over the Northeast on Monday, dumping heavy rain across the region and causing tornadoes, flooding and heartache for some waterlogged residents.

Nearly 22,000 customers remained without power Monday night, with the majority in Connecticut, though Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York also still had outages.

After making made landfall as a tropical storm on the coast of Rhode Island on Sunday afternoon, Henri weakened Monday but was still expected to drop as much as two to three inches of rain overnight from southern New England to New Jersey, the National Hurricane Center said.

The agency said that urban and flash-flooding was still possible.

A bicyclist rides through a flooded street as Tropical Storm Henri approaches South Kingstown, Rhode Island, on Sunday.Brian Snyder / Reuters

President Joe Biden on Sunday promised to provide federal help to the residents of affected states. The president declared disasters in much of the region.

Some of the worst rain had arrived well before the storm’s center.

Brooklyn, New York, saw nearly 10 inches of rain between Saturday and Monday night. Parts of New Jersey, including Oakland, Jamesburg, West Milford and Harrison, all got more than 8 inches.

After Gov. Phil Murphy toured the damage in Middlesex County on Monday, he said he’d “never seen anything like it.”

In Newark, at least 86 people were rescued from flooded vehicles related to the tropical storm by Sunday afternoon, according to the city’s department of public safety.

In Monroe Township, Roseann and John Kiernan said they’d likely have to toss their appliances, tear up walls and carpets and replace their car after their house filled with nearly 2 feet of water Sunday.

“This is what we were left with. Nothing, nothing,” Roseann Kiernan said. “They told us that everything has to go.”

In Massachusetts, three tornadoes with maximum wind speeds of 60-70 mph were spotted west of Boston, the National Weather Service said. There were no reports of injuries or deaths.

Meanwhile, in New York, the National Weather Service recorded what could be the wettest hour ever in Central Park, with 1.94 inches of torrential rainfall pelting the park between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. Saturday.

Earlier in the evening, the 60,000 people attending a “We Love NYC: The Homecoming Concert” at the park were forced to disperse because of heavy rainfall and lightning. The concert had been intended to celebrate the city’s recovery from the coronavirus.

Marshall Shepherd, director of the atmospheric sciences program at the University of Georgia and former president of the American Meteorological Society, said Henri was reminiscent in some ways of Hurricane Harvey, a slow-moving storm that decimated the Houston area in 2017.

But Robert Welch, a podcaster, just hoped it would not be comparable to Tropical Storm Irene, which spared a well-warned New York in August 2011 only to become the biggest natural disaster in Vermont since an epic 1927 flood.

“I remember Irene and media outlets outside Vermont brushing it aside as if no big deal while it hit Vermont,” Welch tweeted Sunday. “I’ll relax when I see it at sea on radar.”

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